Stock index futures rose on Friday as investors awaited data that could provide a look at the health of the consumer, including reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment.

Boeing Co could be active after it said Thursday its 787 Dreamliner could start test-flying on December 15 after falling two years behind schedule.

United Technologies Corp could cheer investors after the diversified manufacturer said it expects profits to rise about 10 percent next year as heavy cost-cutting pays off.

Focus will be the Commerce Department release of November retail sales at 8:30 a.m. EST, which will include sales from the key Black Friday weekend. Economists in a Reuters survey expect an 0.7 percent rise, compared with a 1.4 percent increase in October. Excluding automobiles, sales are seen up 0.4 percent, compared with an 0.2 percent increase in the month before.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers December consumer sentiment index will be out at 9:55 a.m. EST. Wall Street looks for a preliminary December reading of 68.5, compared with 67.4 in the final November report.

I believe consumption will improve from the disastrous levels of last year, and we'll probably see a holiday shopper that is a little more robust than what has been expected, given the severity of the recession, said Jamie Cox, managing partner of Harris Financial Group in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

It will lend a lot of credibility to the recovery if you can see strong output from the consumer.

S&P 500 futures rose 5.8 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 gained 53 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.5 points.

Other data due Friday include import prices for November and business inventories for October.

The top sovereign credit ratings of Britain and the United States are not under threat of downgrade right now, but under a worst-case scenario, a cut could come by 2013, Moody's Investors Service.

The comments eased jitters about sovereign credit risk that cropped up this week after Standard & Poor's cut its sovereign credit rating outlook for Spain and Fitch downgraded Greece's debt rating.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp Chief Executive Robert Kelly has resurfaced as a possible candidate to succeed outgoing Bank of America Corp CEO Kenneth Lewis, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.

National Semiconductor Corp forecast fiscal third-quarter revenue would be roughly flat compared with the second quarter's $345 million, while analysts expect $331 million and posted second-quarter results that beat estimates. Its shares slid after the bell on worries about its ability to regain market share.

Stocks rose Thursday as signs of improving trends in the job market and a decline in the U.S. October trade deficit reassured investors the economy was on a steady growth path.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)