U.S. stock futures inch higher; eyes on GDP figures

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall
Street on Friday, as sovereign debt worries in the euro-zone
soothed, while investors awaited the advance reading of
first-quarter gross domestic product.

* At 0800 GMT, futures for the S&P 500 (SPc1: ) were up 0.13
percent, Dow Jones (DJc1: ) futures up 0.13 percent and Nasdaq 100
(NDc1: ) futures up 0.16 percent.

* Oil-related companies will be in the spotlight again on
Friday. The U.S. government ratcheted up efforts to avert an
environmental disaster as a massive oil slick leaking from a
ruptured well moved closer to the mouth of the Mississippi River
on Thursday, menacing the delicate coastline of Louisiana and
three other Gulf states. [nSPILL]

* UAL Corp’s (UAUA.O: ) United Airlines and Continental
Airlines Inc (CAL.N: ) are expected to announce that they are
merging to form the world’s largest airline on Monday, the Wall
Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

* U.S. federal prosecutors in New York have begun
investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: ), raising the
possibility of criminal charges against the company or its
employees, a source familiar with the situation said on

* European shares were up 0.4 percent in morning trade while
Japan’s Nikkei average (.N225: ) climbed 1.2 percent, both markets
regaining some ground lost earlier in the week as signs that a
bailout for debt-ridden Greece could come soon eased fears of
wider credit woes.

* A multi-billion-euro aid package for Greece will be
hammered out within days and will prevent the crisis from
spilling over to other countries, European Commission President
Jose Manuel Barroso said on Friday. [ID:nTOE63T03Y]

* After the bell on Thursday, shares of McAfee Inc (MFE.N: )
slumped 7 percent in extended trade after the company reported
quarterly results; shares of Expedia Inc (EXPE.O: ) rose 5.4
percent after the company reported first-quarter results, shares
of Monster Worldwide Inc (MWW.N: ) tumbled 6.4 percent after the
company reported a wider quarterly loss.

* Companies expected to report quarterly results on Friday
include Chevron (CVX.N: ), Newell Rubbermaid Inc (NWL.N: ), D.R.
Horton Inc (DHI.N: ) and Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O: ).

* Economic data on tap for Friday includes the advance
reading of first-quarter gross domestic product, Chicago PMI for
April and the final consumer sentiment reading for April.

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) chalked up their best day in nearly two months
on Thursday as investors welcomed a string of robust earnings
reports, while Greece appeared close to a bailout deal, easing
fears about a wider sovereign debt crisis.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 122.05
points, or 1.10 percent, to 11,167.32. The Standard & Poor’s 500
Index (.SPX: ) rose 15.42 points, or 1.29 percent, to 1,206.78.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) added 40.19 points, or 1.63
percent, to 2,511.92.

Stock Market Research

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

U.S. stock futures inch higher; eyes on GDP figures