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US futures rise in quiet post-holiday trading

U.S. stock futures were higher on the last day of the shortened trading week after a sixth day of consecutive gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The S&P 500's winning streak was stopped Wednesday with a late-day fade that saw the benchmark index end down fractionally for the day.

Read MoreU.S. stock index futures

Investors may have a tough time finding reasons to buy or sell today, with no earnings or economic reports on the calendar.

Among the stocks to watch, Qualcomm could soon be in the clear in China, where the government said it would soon settle its antitrust probe of the maker of mobile semiconductors.

Wal-Mart, Macy's, Kohl's, Nordstrom and other retailers will be in focus, after the International Council of Shopping Centers reported that this holiday shopping season saw the best sales growth in three years.

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Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and other energy stocks will be also be on watch today, as the price of oil rebounds somewhat. On Wednesday, eight of the top 10 percentage losers in the S&P 500 – and 20 of the first 25 – were energy-related stocks.

Finally, Tesla is expected to have an announcement about an upgrade toits Roadster model, according to a Tweet sent out by CEO Elon Musk.