U.S. stock futures point toward a higher opening on Friday as U.S. retail sales beat expectations and prospects of a financial reform bill look dim.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.41 percent at 9:03 a.m. EST and futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.38 percent.

A report from the Commerce Department, released at 8:30 a.m. EST, showed that retail sales grew 0.3 percent in February.  Excluding autos, it grew 0.8 percent.  Both figures are above the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Investors are also eyeing the Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, which will be released at 9:55 am EST, to further gauge the level of consumer confidence.

Earlier, the S&P 500 futures and European indices were buoyed by higher than expected euro area industrial production, which grew 1.7 percent in January, according to Eurostat. 

U.S. bank shares in pre-market trading and European bank shares are also up as the prospects of financial reform legislation look dim. 

On Thursday, Senator Chris Dodd announced that Democrats will attempt to push through their own bill on financial reform without Republican support.