Stock futures rise as consumer data awaited

 @ibtimes on August 14 2009 8:32 AM

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Friday as investors await inflation and consumer sentiment data for more solid signs of an economic recovery.

Consumer spending is again in the spotlight a day after the government reported weak retails sales and jobless claims data, casting a cloud of doubt over an economic stabilization.

Major retailer JC Penney Co Inc was down 1.3 percent to $32.90 in premarket trade despite reporting a narrower-than-expected second-quarter loss. Abercrombie & Fitch Co rose 4.7 percent to $34.50 after reporting a quarterly loss as revenues slid 23 percent.

U.S. CPI figures for July are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters survey expect CPI to be unchanged compared with a 0.7 percent increase in June. Excluding volatile food and energy items, CPI is expected to rise 0.1 percent versus a 0.2 percent increase in June.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers preliminary August consumer sentiment index is due at 9:55 a.m. Economists surveyed by Reuters look for a reading of 68.5 compared with 66.0 in the final July report.

The big numbers are the CPI, PPI, unemployment numbers ... yesterday's negative data on retails are just part of the big puzzle, but today's numbers are what will be shaping the market, said Tim Smalls, head of U.S. stock trading at brokerage firm Execution LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Federal Reserve is to release industrial production and capacity utilization data for July at 9:15 a.m. EDT. A Reuters survey of economists showed an 0.3 percent rise in production and a reading of 68.3 percent for capacity utilization.

S&P 500 futures were up 1 point, and 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 flat, and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 1.25 points.

* U.S. stocks ended higher Thursday. The broader S&P 500 index is up 49 percent from its closing low set on March 9.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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