Stock futures extended their gains Friday after strong retail sales and corporate news offered some encouragement about the direction of the economy.
The government says retail sales increased 1.1 percent in September. It was the biggest gain in seven months and twice what economists had expected. Retail sales are a key early barometer of consumer spending, the biggest contributor to economic activity.
Google Inc. rose more than 7 percent in premarket trading after the tech giant said its third-quarter profit climbed 26 percent.
In Europe, food and soap company Unilever PLC announced a major acquisition, and Swiss agrochemicals firm Syngenta reported strong third-quarter sales.
Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose 14 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,212 at 8:41 a.m. Eastern time. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 125, or 1.1 percent, to 11,517. Nasdaq 100 futures rose 25, or 1.1 percent, to 2,351.
The market is headed for its strongest week in a month. The Dow is up 3.4 percent this week, the S&P 4.2 percent and the Nasdaq 5.7 percent.
Retail sales are the government's first look at consumer spending each month. Consumers account for 70 percent of economic activity. If they cut back, a recession is more likely. When they spend more, economic growth is more likely.
Apple Inc.'s new iPhone goes on sale today. Record-setting early orders for the iPhone 4S showed why the company has thrived despite the weak economy. Apple shares rose more than 2 percent before the market opened.
European markets extended an eight-day rally despite an overnight downgrade of Spain by Standard & Poor's and warnings from Fitch about big banks. Most Asian markets closed lower.
Google said after the market closed Thursday that its third-quarter revenue was one-third higher than last year. It was Google's fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth. Google is doing well because of the reach of its search engine and the effectiveness of its ads.
Stocks sank Thursday in part because financial shares declined. JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s investment banking business weakened in the third quarter, the company said before trading began. It was the first big bank to report quarterly results. The decline in net income bodes poorly for its Wall Street rivals.
The government reports at 10 a.m. on business inventories in August. Analysts expect that they expanded their stockpiles for a 20th straight month, usually a sign of economic confidence.