Wall Street stocks were set to open higher on Friday as investors were more attracted to risk assets, with the euro higher and key euro zone bond yields down.
Reflecting improved investor confidence, benchmark Italian bond yields stabilized below 7 percent and Spanish yields also fell. Still, worries persisted over possible sovereign credit downgrades to the euro zone members.
European shares were slightly lower, but mining stocks rose, tracking metals. Copper prices added nearly 2.3 percent. <.EU>
The euro rose against the U.S. dollar in a rebound from recent losses.
Bids on stock index futures continued to be supported by strong U.S. data from Thursday, according to Jim Paulsen, chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis.
The reality is this morning, (jobless) claims are still way down, manufacturing sectors had a nice pop and that provides a nice floor to the market, he said.
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 3-1/2-year low last week and factory activity in parts of the Northeast picked up in December, data showed Thursday.
S&P 500 futures rose 7.4 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 were up 63 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 15 points.
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U.S. consumer prices were flat in November as Americans paid less for cars and gasoline, while the 12-month inflation reading fell for the second straight month, which could give the Federal Reserve more room to help a still-weak economy.
Paulsen said that subdued inflation will be a long-term positive as consumers benefit from contained prices.
That's one of the reasons you're seeing better consumer (confidence) of late, he said.
Research In Motion Ltd
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)