Stocks were set to open higher on Friday after data showed retail sales rose more than expected last month, supporting optimism the burgeoning economic recovery would be sustainable.
United Technologies Corp
Data showed total retail sales increased 1.3 percent in November, the largest advance since August and topping the consensus analyst forecast for a 0.7 percent gain.
It suggests the holiday shopping season got off to a pretty good start despite the weak weekly data that we've seen, said John Canally, investment strategist and economist for LPL Financial in Boston.
It keeps the recovery on solid footing. The risk of a double-dip ebbs with every strong report we get.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.8 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 58 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 8.5 points.
The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers December consumer sentiment index will provide further insight into the health of the consumer and is expected at 9:55 a.m.. Wall Street is expecting a preliminary December reading of 68.5, up from 67.4 in the final November report.
Other data due Friday include business inventories for October.
National Semiconductor Corp
The top sovereign credit ratings of Britain and the United States are not under threat of downgrade right now, but under a worst-case scenario, a cut could come by 2013, Moody's Investors Service said.
The comments eased jitters about sovereign credit risk that cropped up this week after Standard & Poor's cut its sovereign credit rating outlook for Spain and Fitch downgraded Greece's debt rating.
Stocks rose Thursday as signs of improving trends in the job market and a decline in the U.S. October trade deficit reassured investors the economy was on a steady growth path.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)