Wall Street was poised for a flat to higher open on Friday as positive remarks from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner supported optimism for a recovery, but stocks could stall after five days of gains.
Surprisingly strong industrial output and other economic data from China underscored optimism that the global economy is pulling out of a slump.
Geithner said on Thursday that with a strengthening economy the government can end some of the extraordinary support put in place for markets and prepare for a slow recovery.
Appearing before the Congressional Oversight Panel for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, Geithner said the economy was in far better shape now than a year ago, when it was on the verge of collapse, though it still had problems.
Analysts said his comments were helping markets. The general economic recovery -- which you get more and more testimony on every day -- is causing investors to rebuild equity portfolios and continue to buy stocks, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
Geithner only helped support that idea that things in general are improving and it has led to a period of a very sustained rally.
But stocks could be ripe for profit taking after racking up a fifth day of gains on Thursday, the longest winning streak since November.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.60 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 11 point, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3 points.
Data on tap includes the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers preliminary September consumer sentiment index at 9:55 a.m. EDT (1355 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 67.3 compared with 65.7 in the final August report.
Investors have been looking for any signs of life from the consumer as anemic spending remains one of the biggest challenges facing a strong recovery.
National Semiconductor Corp
Shares of American International Group Inc
Campbell Soup Co's
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)