Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday after Ford Motor Co reported better-than-expected results as investors awaited data on manufacturing and housing.

Government data on March durable goods orders and new home sales figures for the same month are due later in the morning. Investors will be looking for signs the economic slump is abating to add on to recent optimism.

Ford posted a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss in the midst of the auto sector downturn and said it was on track to at least break even in 2011. The shares surged 24.9 percent to $5.61 in premarket trade.

It looks like positive headlines. I know the focus has been on the cash burn rate, which led to the Goldman upgrade earlier in the week, said Robert Finkel at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore, speaking of Ford.

There was some positive news last night, and coupled with some good results from the variety of other names last night, which had the market lifting, I think what we've seen this morning should only increase lifting the futures.

But the latest earnings reports still showed the pressures of the global economic slump, with diversified manufacturers Honeywell International Inc and 3M Co cutting their full-year profit forecasts.

Shares of 3M were down 1.9 percent at $53.20, while Honeywell edged up 0.4 percent at $32.50.

S&P 500 futures added 5.10 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 31 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 10.50 points.

In the financial sector, the U.S. government is expected to release documents outlining the assumptions that underlie the stress tests for the 19 biggest U.S. financial institutions. Results of the tests are not due until May 4, but may start to leak out next week. Uncertainty surrounds what the results may reveal about the health of the sector that is at the heart of the economic crisis.

American Express Co was among the bright spots in one of the busiest weeks for earnings reports after the credit card company's results beat expectations late Thursday as it slashed costs. American Express rose 6.1 percent to $22.25 before the opening bell.

Oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd beat analysts' lowered expectations on Friday, sending the stock up 4.9 percent to $48.90 in early electronic trading.

Elsewhere in the auto industry, Chrysler LLC is readying a bankruptcy plan, but still focused on reaching an alliance with Italy's Fiat SpA with the support of the Obama administration, people with knowledge of the discussions said. Chrysler has a week left to clinch the deal.

Stocks rose in volatile trade Thursday as better-than-expected results from regional banks lifted financial shares. The S&P 500 index is off 2 percent for the week, putting it on track to snap a six-week streak of gains. Since the bear market lows of early March, the index is up nearly 26 percent.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)