Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher opening on Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 all up between 0.1 and 0.3 percent at 5:01 a.m. ET.

The Labor Dept's employment report at 8:30 a.m. ET was expected to set the market tone as a strong reading would provide fresh evidence that the U.S. economy is on a steady path to recovery. Any sign of a slippage could be seen as adding pressure on the Federal Reserve to take action to stimulate the economy.

Non-farm payrolls were expected to have risen by an estimated 150,000 last month after jumping by 200,000 in December, as the hiring boost from a busy holiday shopping season unwound, according to a Reuters survey. The unemployment rate is seen steady at 8.5 percent.

The Commerce Dept releases December factory orders at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect a rise of 1.5 percent compared with a 1.8 percent increase in November.

Also at 10 a.m. ET, the Institute for Supply Management releases its January non-manufacturing index, which is expected to come in at 53.0, a repeat of the revised December number.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute releases its weekly index of economic activity for Jan at 10:30 a.m. ET. 24. In the prior week the index read 122.8.

The Treasury Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Jan Eberly holds pen-and-pad briefing on January employment data and economic recovery at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat processor, is expected to report its earnings per share fell to 34 dollar cents in the first quarter of its fiscal year from 75 cents a year ago, according to a consensus of 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Investors will be looking to see if higher grain and feed costs have continued to eat into profits.

Other U.S. companies due to report on Friday include Aon Corp, Beam, and The Clorox.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp on Thursday named Bloomberg LP executive Lex Fenwick as chief executive officer of its Dow Jones & Co unit which houses its Wall Street Journal newspaper.

Sunoco Inc took another step in its effort to turn the business around, replacing the chief executive who oversaw a dramatic shake-up of what was once the major independent refiner in the Northeastern United States.

The U.S. Air Force said Thursday it plans a $2.8 billion upgrade of about 350 of its aging F-16 multi-role fighter planes to help offset slower purchases of the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

In the plan to overhaul its luxury Lincoln brand, Ford Motor Co is embarking on a new approach, leaving behind the routine ideas of the auto industry and instead taking cues from the likes of high-end boutique hotels.

Google Inc. said it has beefed up security on its Android mobile-device software to better prevent malicious software from residing in its app store, the Wall Street Journal said.

A 2007 securities-fraud class action lawsuit brought by shareholders against Motorola Solutions reached a $200 million settlement, court records show.

European shares were a touch higher as upbeat economic data from the crisis-struck euro zone supported sentiment ahead of the U.S. labor report.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 11.05 points, or 0.09 percent, to 12,705.41 on Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 1.45 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,325.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 11.41 points, or 0.40 percent, to 2,859.68.

(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Greg Mahlich)