US Markets

Existing homes data to be eyed by Wall Street


U.S. stock-index futures traded higher on Friday ahead of home sales data and speeches from Federal Reserve officials. gained after the Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter in reporting the online retailer had discussions on whether to add brands including Ralph Lauren. Hewlett-Packard rose after reporting sales and profit that beat estimates. Groupon fell after the deals website offered a profit outlook below expectations.

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Existing home sales data for January will be published at 10 a.m. ET, and follow this week's housing starts numbers, which fell victim to the bad weather and plunged 16 percent.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast 4.66 million existing home sales were made during the month, down on 4.87 million in December.

"I think it's a very choppy picture in the very short-term, but housing is basically in good, solid shape from an intermediate point of view," said Dick Hoey, BNY Mellon's chief economist. He said it was positive that the housing market has cleared out a lot of inventory.

(Read more: The next disappointing report: Existing home sales)

Is the US recovery gaining velocity?

Fed officials Richard Fisher and James Bullard will make speeches on Friday, and investors will listen for hints of the likely progress on the scaling back of central bank bond purchases.

Companies reporting quarterly earnings before the start of trade on Friday include Charter Communications.

Shares in Asia and Europe traded higher early on Friday, boosted by an upbeat handover from Wall Street. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index both jumped 0.6 percent on Thursday, with the latter nearing its all-time high of 1,850.84. The Nasdaq climbed 0.7 percent.

(Track: European markets live)

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato