U.S. stock index futures point to Wall Street edging higher on Friday, extending a rally into a fourth session, as labour market and other data in the United States pointed to a strong economic recovery.
At 0931 GMT, futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 were up between 0.2 and 0.3 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares was up 0.5 percent at 987.13 points, with banks extending recent gains.
Trading is expected to be thin, on the last session before Christmas. The New York Stock Exchange will be open normal hours, but the bond market will close early, at 1400 ET (1900 GMT).
The U.S. Congress, after months of bitter fighting, is poised on Friday to pass a payroll tax cut extension that President Barack Obama argues is vital to the health of the U.S. economy.
In data due at 1500 GMT, new home sales are expected to tick up to 313,000, from 307,000 the month before. This would continue the good news on the housing front, coming after sales of existing homes rose 4 percent in November.
Long-lasting durable goods data is due at 1330 GMT, and orders for November should have risen a healthy 2 percent, after sinking 0.5 percent the month before.
Personal incomes are forecast to have eased in November, growing by only 0.2 percent against 0.4 percent in the prior month. A decline in average hourly earnings in November's nonfarm payroll breakdown suggests wages and salaries will do no better than record a 0.1 percent increase, according to IFR.
There are no major U.S.companies reporting.
U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on the cusp of finishing out the year higher as another decline in jobless claims pointed to further improvement in the labour market. U.S. consumer sentiment also rose.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 61.84 points, or 0.51 percent, at 12,169.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 10.29 points, or 0.83 percent, at 1,254.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 21.48 points, or 0.83 percent, at 2,599.45.