Futures Edge Up; Dow Still Below 11,000
U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher ahead of the open Friday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued to hold below 11,000 points.
The Dow is exactly where it was at the end of last week, at 10,927.07 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are on track for weekly gains, and if all three are positive for the week, it will mark the sixth consecutive weekly rise, the first time that's happened since March and April of last year.
European shares were higher in the wake of better-than-expected U.S. retail sales data and as Greek bank stocks rebounded and yield spreads between Greek government bonds and German bunds narrowed. Asian stocks closed mostly in the green with the Hang Seng leading the gains.
The only economic data out Friday morning is the February wholesale trade report, with economists expecting for a rise of 0.3 percent following a decline of 0.2 percent in January. That report will be out at 10 am New York time.
In banking news, the Wall Street Journal reported that 18 banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, understated their debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42 percent at the end of each of the five past quarters, to make their balance sheets look less risky.
On the earnings front, Constellation Brands will report its quarterly numbers.
Shares of United parent UAL and U.S. Airways rose Thursday on news the two are in merger talks, but United pilots have now say they are "vehemently opposed" to such a combination and flight attendants have also said they don't support such a deal. Additionally, the CEO of American Airlines parent AMR , Gerard Arpey, told a Los Angeles media event that consolidation is "no silver bullet" for the airline industry.
In other news, Wal-Mart , the world's biggest retailer, is cutting prices on 10,000 items in an attempt to halt slowing U.S. sales, the Journal reported.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.