Stocks headed for a flat open on Friday as upbeat housing data for June counteracted worry over the quality of corporate profits from General Electric Co and Google Inc .

With companies like Intel Corp and Goldman Sachs Group posting strong quarterly results earlier in the week, which led to a four-day run-up, investors were eager to see some consistency from other bellwether names.

Futures pared losses after data showed new U.S. housing starts and building permits jumped more than expected in June, propelled by a rise in single-family homes.

The market's going to like (the data). It lends credence to the case that we're working our way through and that we've seen the worst, said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management in New York.

So far, (earnings season) looks pretty good, but we'll be tested today, he added.

S&P 500 futures were mostly flat but were slightly below 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 fell 4 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1.25 points.

Bank of America Corp shares dipped before the open after it posted a lower quarterly profit, hurt by a surge in troubled loans as more credit card and mortgage customers fell behind on payments.

Citigroup Inc's shares edged higher after the bank reported a $4.3 billion second-quarter profit thanks to gains from merging Smith Barney into a brokerage venture with Morgan Stanley . But Citi's primary banking businesses continued to suffer from rising credit losses.

Shares of Google fell about 2 percent before the opening bell after the weak economy and a slump in advertising spending took a toll on revenue growth and the price of search ads at the Internet giant. Its results, posted late on Thursday, beat Wall Street expectations.

And shares of Mattel Inc rose 5 percent before the bell after the world's top toymaker beat expectations for quarterly profit as it cut costs.

Wall Street capped four days of gains on Thursday, with the S&P 500 <.SPX> posting so far its best week since early March.

(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)