Stock index futures rose sharply on Friday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her strong support for the euro and after a report the European Central Bank was gearing up to lend money to the International Monetary Fund in a bid to ease a euro zone debt crisis.

* Investors were also awaiting a key employment report. U.S. employment growth likely picked up speed in November, but the pace is not expected to be fast enough to bring down the country's 9 percent unemployment rate. Nonfarm payrolls was forecast to increase by 122,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey, which would outpace October's 80,000. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. EST.

* According to traders, Bloomberg reported that the European Central Bank was gearing up to lend money to the International Monetary Fund in a bid to ease a euro zone debt crisis.

* Merkel called for rapid European Union treaty change to remedy the root causes of the euro zone's debt crisis but warned that Europeans faced a long, hard marathon to restore lost credibility.

* A top Chinese foreign ministry official said Europe cannot expect China to use a big portion of its $3.2 trillion foreign exchange reserves to rescue indebted nations, Beijing's strongest rebuttal yet to suggestions it should bail out the region.

* S&P 500 futures rose 18.3 points and 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 jumped 153 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 30 points.

* European stocks <.FTEU3> rose early Friday and were set to post their biggest weekly gains since the onset of the financial crisis in late 2008.

* U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion Ltd fell 3 percent to $18.10 in premarket trade after the BlackBerry maker said it will record a pretax charge to write down the value of its poorly received PlayBook tablet computer.

* Google Inc is pondering an Internet service to help consumers shop online, hoping to cut the loss of Web traffic to Amazon.com Inc , the Wall Street Journal reported.

* Three leading U.S. senators are inquiring into drugmaker Pfizer Inc's
efforts to limit the sale of generic versions of its Lipitor cholesterol drug, which lost U.S. patent protection this week.

* U.S. stocks drifted on Thursday after the previous day's massive gains, but traders worried that recent strong data could set the market up for a selloff should Friday's jobs report fall short of hopes.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)