By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street was poised toopen higher Friday as solid reports from technologybellwethers Oracle and Research in Motion put the S&P 500 ontrack to test a key level that has stymied investors formonths.
Futures saw little movement immediately after thegovernment said consumer prices increased slightly more thanexpected in August, but core prices were flat.
No. 3 software maker Oracle Corp jumped 4 percentto $26.38, while BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltdsurged 3.3 percent at $48 in premarkettrading. Both posted better-than-expected results late Thursdayand gave outlooks that topped expectations.
Futures indicated stocks were set to rise about a half percent at the open, which could lift the S&P 500 toward themuch-watched technical level of 1,130. That point has proved tobe tough to break through since June, and a push above therecould be a bullish sign.
"It's very important that we continue that through the dayand go higher because if we stall out during the day at theselevels, that might mean we won't have a break out," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at WindhamFinancial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
The S&P last rose above 1,130 in late June on an intradaybasis, but failed to close there. It also proved to beresistance in August when the index climbed to around 1,127.
Chartists are looking for a decisive move higher with thatlevel representing the neckline of an inverse head andshoulders formation. Moving above it opens the door for theindex to test its 2010 high near 1,220.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.7 points and were above fairvalue, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into accountinterest rates, dividends and time to expiration on thecontract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 30points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 8.75 points. WallStreet ended little changed Thursday.
Still to come was the preliminary September consumersentiment at 9:55 a.m. EDT . A reading of 70.0 wasexpected, compared with 68.9 in the final August report.
Texas Instruments Inc shares rose 2.4 percent to$25.58 as the chipmaker increased its stock repurchase programand boosted its quarterly dividend by 8 percent.
In mergers and acquisition news, Johnson & Johnsonsaid it is in talks to buy Dutch biotech Crucell NVfor 1.75 billion euros ($2.3 billion).
The quarterly settlement and expiration of four differenttypes of September equity futures and options contracts, alsoknown as "quadruple witching," expire later Friday.
Expiration usually leads to greater volume and volatilityas traders adjust or exercise derivative positions. But thetwo-day event, which began Thursday and only happens four timesa year in March, June, September and December, could stir upmore sudden swings in the market as traders close hedgingpositions or roll them over at the last minute. (Additional reporting by Angela Moon; editing by JeffreyBenkoe)