RTTNews - US stock futures were treading water Friday morning in New York, with the mood on Wall Street cautious ahead of the latest reading on consumer sentiment, even as evidence pointing towards a turnaround strengthens.

As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow Futures were up 1 point, while the S&P Futures and the NASDAQ Futures were down a fraction of a point.

On Thursday, the Dow closed at its highest level since January, boosted by trader reaction to the results of the thirty-year bond auction and a relatively solid retail sales report. However, gains were muted as first time unemployment claims, considered a leading indicator, declined once again in the recent reporting week.

The Dow closed up 31.90 points or 0.4 percent at 8,770.92, the NASDAQ closed up 9.29 points or 0.5 percent at 1,862.37 and the S&P 500 closed up 5.74 points or 0.6 percent at 944.89.

On the economic front, traders await the Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary report on the consumer sentiment index for June, as well as export & import price indexes for April, which gives the changes in the prices of non-military goods and services traded between the U.S. and the rest of the world.

The consumer confidence index is expected to edge up 69.5 from the previous month's 68.7.

Investment management company BlackRock Inc. said Thursday evening that it has agreed to acquire Barclays Global Investors, the asset management arm of U.K.-based financial services provider Barclays plc for $13.5 billion.

The deal also includes iShares, Barclays' exchange traded fund platform. The cash and stock transaction will create the world's largest asset management firm with combined assets under management of over $2.7 trillion.

Chipmaker National Semiconductor Corp. (NSM) said Thursday after the markets closed that it swung to a fourth quarter loss, hurt by lower sales as well as severance and restructuring costs.

The Santa Clara, California-based company reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of $63.7 million or $0.28 per share, compared to net income of $83.2 million or $0.34 per share for the year-ago quarter.

Delta Air Lines (DAL ), the world's largest airline operator, said it will cut system capacity by 10%, while AMR Corp. (AMR), the parent of American Airlines, announced additional steps to handle the difficult demand environment, with further reductions in seating capacity.

Memory chip interface designer Rambus Inc. (RMBS) announced that it has reached a tentative settlement in the case filed against it by the European Commission in 2007 for alleged violation of European Union competition law.

The price of oil retreated from its strong surge over $72 a barrel and is trading below that level.

Mixed trend was witnessed among the Asian markets after China and Japan reported better than expected economic data, as investors preferred to lock in gains ahead of the weekend.

Green shoots of recovery are emerging rapidly at least in developing countries, with China, Japan and India reporting positive economic data earlier in the day. Japan's industrial production for April was revised up to 5.9% month-over-month from a preliminary estimate of 5.2%, while a consumer confidence data from Japan also came in above expectations. In reaction to the positive reading, the Nikkei 225 Average ended at a 8-month closing high.

The Chinese retail sales for May came in a tad above forecast and factory output rose 8.9% year-over-year, exceeding forecasts for a 7.3% increase. Meanwhile, India, which is considered one of the powerhouse along with China among developing nations, reported an unexpected increase in industrial output for April.

Meanwhile, on a sour note, the IMF forecasts that world economies will contract at a faster-than-anticipated pace. The international agency expects the global GDP to shrink 3%, worse than its earlier forecasts for a 1.7% drop.

The European market are trading marginally weaker on profit taking.

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