(REUTERS) - Stock index futures rose Friday on signs of progress in Greece's bailout, but gains were small as investors appeared ready to take a breather after the S&P 500 posted its best daily gain in two weeks.
The S&P rose to a 9-month high on Thursday and pushed above technical resistance level toward 1360. More gains could be ahead after European shares rallied to a 6-1/2-month high as investors bet that Greece would sign a deal to secure a second bailout by Monday. That would help the euro-zone nation avoid a messy default, which could have a rippling effect in the financial markets.
Investor sentiment improved after euro-zone officials said the finishing touches were being put on the bailout package, which would include a debt swap deal that cuts the value of bonds held by financial firms by about 70 percent.
With Greek stocks up more than 4 percent, European banks trading higher, European sovereign bonds rallying and the S&P being bought on every single dip, the market assumes European finance ministers will approve the bailout package by Monday, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York. Let's hope so, he said.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.2 points and were in line with 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 added 44 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1 points.
The U.S. Labor Department releases at 8:30 a.m. the January Consumer Price Index, and economists expect a 0.3 percent rise from an unchanged reading in December. Excluding volatile food and energy items, CPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent, against a 0.1 percent increase in the prior month.
Other data include the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators index, expected to rise 0.5 percent month over month in January.
President Barack Obama will stay focused on China on Friday with an announcement of streamlined financing for U.S. exporters that compete against foreign firms that are afforded unfair advantages, White House officials said.
Apple Inc.'s share of China's booming smartphone market slipped for a second straight quarter in October-December as it lost ground to cheaper local brands and as some shoppers held off until after the iPhone 4S launch last month.
Diversified U.S. conglomerate 3M Co. is topping up staff pension plans with $800 million to $1 billion cash in 2012 as falling discount rates inflate its long-term liabilities, becoming the latest American company to inject cash into under funded retirement plans.
Applied Materials Inc. shares were 5.4 percent higher in premarket, a day after the release of their results.