Stock index futures edged higher on Friday after recording three straight winning sessions and as investors braced for the start of earnings season next week.
Most of the gains in the holiday-shortened week, marked by volatility and low volume, were driven by hopes that U.S. corporations will post strong quarterly results when Alcoa Inc starts reporting season on Monday. Alcoa's shares edged up 0.8 percent in premarket trade.
Google Inc shares jumped 4.5 percent after it said the Chinese government renewed its website license, averting a shutdown of its search page in the world's biggest Internet market. Shares of local rival Baidu Inc fell 5.7 percent.
Sentiment remained fragile, however, going into the Friday session, with many investors concerned the global economy could slip back into recession. Even with the gains of the last three days the S&P 500 is still down 12 percent since April.
We are all holding our breath for earnings season to start, said Kim Caughey, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. Companies are very well positioned because they're lightly staffed now and are very productive.
S&P 500 futures fell 0.5 points but were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures climbed 2 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.25 points.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares rose 0.4 percent, on track for a fourth straight winning session, with banking shares leading risers.
Friday's data includes U.S. wholesale inventories for May at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters poll expected inventories to rise 0.4 percent in May, unchanged from the prior month.
The Obama administration was preparing to unveil a revised deepwater oil drilling moratorium after a federal court refused Thursday to reinstate an earlier ban imposed after BP Plc's massive oil spill. BP's shares fell 1.7 percent to $33.17 in early New York trade.
Europe's EADS put in a formal bid Thursday to build a fleet of U.S. Air Force aerial-refueling planes, challenging Boeing Co again for the politically sensitive deal. [ID:nN08226979]
Equity funds worldwide suffered more than $11 billion in net outflows in the first week of July, while money market funds saw the biggest inflows in 18 months amid fears of a double-dip recession, fund tracker EPFR Global said.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)