Stocks were set for a modestly higher open on Friday as data showed inflation remained in check as the domestic economy continues to improve.

The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index increased 0.4 percent last month after advancing 0.2 percent in January, in-line with expectations, while inflation pressure, excluding food and energy, remained subdued.

It's still steady as she goes, said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. Either way, it didn't really upset the boat.

The benchmark S&P 500 index closed above 1,400 for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis on Thursday. The index is up 11.5 percent for the year as economic data has done little to unsettle investors and trigger a pullback.

The 1,400 level on the S&P is considered by analysts to be a resistance point that could trigger more gains if surpassed convincingly.

But you have to be careful because you can get lulled into complacency, and that is starting to happen now - it's not a question of if the market is up or down, it's how much is the market going to be up, said Saluzzi.

This week marks the quarterly expiration and settlement of March equity futures and options, an event termed quadruple witching, which could increase volume and volatility.

Investors will digest the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers preliminary March consumer sentiment index release at 9:55 a.m. (1355 GMT). Economists expect a rise in the index to 76.0 from 75.3 in the final February report.

At 9:15 a.m. (1315 GMT) the Federal Reserve releases industrial production and capacity utilization data for February. Economists expect a 0.4 percent monthly rise in production and a capacity utilization reading of 78.8 percent. In the January report, production was flat, and capacity utilization was 78.5 percent.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.1 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 35 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.75 points.

Apple Inc was slightly lower at $589.40 in premarket trades as its new iPad proved to be another hot-seller on Friday, with hundreds lining up at stores across Asia to be the first to get their hands on the tablet computer.

Several banks, including Goldman Sachs Group, have shown an interest in buying American International Group Inc's complex and troubled assets tied to the insurer's bailout, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. AIG added 0.6 percent to $28.25 premarket.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)