Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday after Ford Motor Co reported better-than-expected results as investors awaited data on manufacturing and housing.

Government data on March durable goods orders and new home sales figures for the same month are due later in the morning. Investors will be looking for signs the economic slump is abating to add on to recent optimism.

Ford posted a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss on Friday amid the auto sector downturn and said it was on track to at least break even in 2011 and did not expect to seek U.S. government loans. The shares jumped 15.8 percent to $5.20 in premarket trade.

It looks like positive headlines. I know the focus has been on the cash burn rate, which led to the Goldman upgrade earlier in the week, said Robert Finkel at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore, speaking of Ford.

There was some positive news last night, and coupled with some good results from the variety of other names last night, which had the market lifting, I think what we've seen this morning should only increase lifting the futures.

The U.S. government is expected to release documents outlining the assumptions that underlie the stress tests for the 19 biggest U.S. banks. Results of the tests are not due until May 4, but may start leaking out next week.

3M Co will report first-quarter earnings, with analysts anticipating a 38 percent drop from the previous year. After a recent offer of early retirement packages to 11 percent of its workforce, investors will want to know how the company will continue to trim costs, if necessary.

Shares of American Express Co were up before the opening bell after the credit card company's results beat expectations on Thursday as it slashed costs.

S&P 500 futures added 4.40 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 were up 31 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 10.50 points.

Other companies due to report include Honeywell International Inc and Xerox Corp .

Microsoft Corp's quarterly profit fell 32 percent, but its shares rose in premarket trade as investors welcomed continuing efforts to cut costs and news that the release of its Windows 7 operating system was on track.

Morgan Stanley , which posted a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss earlier this week, is eyeing changes to its biggest proprietary-trading desk, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

With a week left for Chrysler LLC to clinch a deal with Italy's Fiat SpA , the U.S. automaker is readying a bankruptcy plan, but still focused on reaching an alliance with the support of the Obama administration, people with knowledge of the discussions said on Thursday.

Stocks rose in volatile trade Thursday as better-than-expected results from several regional banks lifted financial shares, overshadowing disappointing economic data and anemic outlooks from economic bellwethers like United Parcel Service Inc .

The S&P 500 index is off 2 percent for the week, putting it on track to snap a six-week streak of gains. Since the bear market lows of early March, the index is up nearly 26 percent.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)