Stock futures rose on Friday, pointing to a bounce back for Wall Street after retreating Thursday, though investors remained concerned about a lack of progress by politicians in ongoing fiscal negotiations.
Economic data out of China was encouraging, and showed that manufacturing in December in the world's second-largest economy grew at its fastest pace in 14 months, indicating the world economy may be on the mend.
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However, in Europe, the euro zone's manufacturing and services sectors showed only small signs of improvement and remained in contraction territory.
President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner held a "frank" meeting Thursday to try to break an impasse in negotiations over the "fiscal cliff," tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in early in 2013.
Frustration has mounted over the lack of progress in the discussions, with market participants' worries reflected in a 0.6 percent drop in the S&P 500 on Thursday. Investors are concerned that going over the cliff could tip the economy back into recession. While a deal is expected to be reached eventually, a drawn-out debate - like the one seen over 2011's debt ceiling - can erode confidence.
S&P 500 futures rose 3.3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 35 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3 points.
The consumer price index for November is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), while industrial production will be released at 9:15 a.m. ET (1415 GMT).
Shares of Adobe Systems were up 4.5 percent at $37.13 in light premarket trading after the company said it expected profit and earnings to grow from 2013 onwards.
Sprint Nextel Corp's $2.1 billion offer to buy out Clearwire Corp appeared to be running into trouble on Thursday, as some shareholders said they wanted more money, while Softbank Corp <9984.T> set a cap on how much Sprint could pay.
Apple's iPhone 5 will be released in China on Friday but its longer-term hopes may depend on new technology being tested by China's top telecoms carrier. [ID:nL4N09O1OM] Shares of Apple were down 1.3 percent at $522.65 in premarket trading.
The S&P 500 ended its six-day winning streak on Thursday, retreating as worries intensified that Washington's fiscal negotiations were dragging on with little progress.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum)