Stocks higher on Draghi speech, US data

U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, taking their lead from gains in European and Asian markets.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi spoke at a European banking conference in Frankfurt on Friday morning saying that the euro zone economy is likely to remain stagnant in the short-to-medium term. He added that the central bank stands ready to act fast to combat low inflation and that the inflation situation in the euro area has also become increasingly challenging.

Meanwhile, China on Friday cut its benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years to lower borrowing costs and lift a cooling economy that's on track for its weakest annual growth in 24 years.

Markets were also buoyed by strong U.S. economic data from Thursday. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Index (a survey of general business conditions) came in at 40.8 for November, more than double the expected 18.3 and the highest since December 1993. In addition, existing home sales hit 5.26 million and leading indicators gained 0.9 percent, both beating expectations for October.

After Thursday's raft of economic data, the market could take something of a breather on Friday, with just the Kansas City Federal Reserve manufacturing index in the U.S.

Athletic retailer Foot Locker will post quarterly results before Wall Street opens.

President Barack Obama is under renewed scrutiny after announcing Thursday night an executive action on immigration. Obama said he would temporarily defer deportation for almost 5 million undocumented workers if they submit to registration and a background check. Republican politicians decried the plans as unconstitutional and ill-advised.

Read MoreGOP reacts furiously to Obama immigration plan

Meanwhile, speculation is growing that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may cut oil production when it meets on Thursday next week. That talk has helped drive oil futures up from record lows and is likely to keep the market volatile on Friday and next week.

Wire services contributed this report.