A trader yells out prices during the IPO of Greenway Medical Technologies at the New York Stock Exchange
A trader yells out prices during the Initial Public Offering of Greenway Medical Technologies Inc. on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 2, 2012. REUTERS

(REUTERS) -- Stock index futures edged higher on Friday as investors awaited the monthly payrolls report to see whether to make more large bets in risk assets after recent equity gains.

The government's payrolls report, due at 8:30 a.m. EST is expected to show 150,000 jobs were added in January, down from 200,000 in December, which benefited from holiday hiring. Despite that, economists expect the data to show that a trend of growth remains intact, while the unemployment rate is seen holding steady at a near three-year low of 8.5 percent.

Recent economic data have suggested the economy is on a slow but steady path to recovery and helped fuel a rally in stocks, with the S&P 500 up 5.4 percent so far this year and gaining over 23 percent since lows in October. A solid report could propel equities further.

Sentiment was underpinned by data that hinted the Eurozone may yet avoid recession, boosting European shares.

S&P 500 futures rose 2.4 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 added 14 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9.5 points.

Aon Corp., the world's largest insurance broker, early Friday posted a higher quarterly profit that narrowly beat market estimates.

Clorox Co. and Tyson Foods Inc. were also due to report quarterly results later Friday.

Earnings have been mixed this season, with fewer companies beating expectations than in recent quarters.

However many technology names, including Qualcomm Inc. and Apple Inc., have posted superior quarters.

In other economic news, December factory orders are seen rising 1.5 percent, while the Institute for Supply Management's January non-manufacturing index is expected to come in at 53.0, a repeat of the revised December number. Both numbers are due at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT)

Investors largely took a wait-and-see approach on Thursday as U.S. stocks ended little changed ahead of the payrolls report.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)