The U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Friday as investor sentiment turned positive amid the encouraging economic indicators from China.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.10 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.12 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.10 percent. 

On Thursday, the U.S. stocks rose as investor confidence was lifted by the encouraging economic indicators. According to the data released Thursday by the Department of Labor, jobless claims, which measure the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, rose to 335,000 in the week ending Jan. 12, down from 371,000 in the previous week.

According to the data released Thursday by the Census Bureau, housing starts, which measure the change in the annualized number of residential buildings that began construction each month, rose to 954,000 in December, from 851,000 in November. The Census Bureau also reported the data on building permits, which measure the change in the number of new building permits issued by the government each month. The report showed a rise to 903,000 in December, from 900,000 in November.

Meanwhile, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) reported before the market opened that the company’s net income fell to $732 million in the fourth quarter, down from $1.99 billion in the same period the earlier year. Citigroup (NYSE: C) reported that the company’s net income rose to $1.20 billion in the fourth quarter, from $956 million in the same period the earlier year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.63 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.56 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.59 percent.

Asian stocks gained Friday as investor confidence turned positive to know that China’s economy rose at a better-than-expected rate in the fourth quarter of last year, indicating that the economic growth momentum of the country is reviving. According to the data released Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy, rose to 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, from 7.4 percent in the third quarter and above the analysts’ expectation of 7.8 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Composite rose 244.98 points, India’s Sensex gained 98.57 points, Japan’s Nikkei advanced 303.66 points and South Korea’s Kospi was up 13.58 points.

European stocks rose Friday tracking the global cues. London's FTSE 100 was up 3.32 points, Germany's DAX 30 rose 44.33 points and France's CAC 40 gained 5.25 points.