Stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open for equities Friday after declines in the previous session, with futures for the S&P 500, for the Dow Jones and for the Nasdaq 100 all up 0.2 percent.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to address central bankers at an annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., at 1400 GMT (8 a.m. local time). His speech last year laid the groundwork for the Fed's $600 billion bond-buying program to revive the economy.
Bernanke is unlikely to announce a third round of bond buying. The Fed has already bought $2.3 trillion in longer-term securities, a policy known as quantitative easing. Its most recent program, dubbed QE2, ended in June. But he could acknowledge the economy's strains and may show a willingness to take other, relatively modest, steps to shore up the recovery.
James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, said Thursday that a bid by the Fed to lower long-term interest rates further by rebalancing its portfolio would probably not have much impact.
The Commerce Department will release its second reading of U.S. second-quarter GDP data at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with economists forecasting a 1.1 percent annualized pace of growth, against 1.3 percent growth in the first reading.
Preliminary second-quarter corporate profits data also is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. In the revised Q1 report, corporate profits rose 1.2 percent.
American International Group (AIG.N) Chief Executive Robert Benmosche has complained to senior executives at investment banks about the unfavorable research of the insurer's stock, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
At 9:55 a.m. EDT, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release the August final consumer sentiment index. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 56.0 compared with 54.9 in the preliminary August report.
Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) is due to announce results.
The top official behind Standard & Poor's downgrade of the United States said Friday it was not to blame for August's stock market rout, and warned that developed nations still needed to get their act together to tackle their mountains of debt.
European shares markets fell 0.7 percent in early trading Friday on nervousness ahead of Bernanke's speech, while Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.3 percent on bargain-hunting.