U.S. stock futures signal gains; techs in focus

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall
Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500 (SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) up 0.3
percent, Dow Jones (DJc1: Quote, Profile, Research) futures up 0.2 percent and Nasdaq 100
(NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) futures up 0.3 percent at 0917 GMT.

* Tech shares will be in focus after Oracle (ORCL.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
forecast a 4-14 percent rise in sales of new software this
quarter and raised its dividend a fifth, fuelling hopes that a
global resurgence in technology spending remained intact.

* Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research)(RIMM.O: Quote, Profile, Research),
however, said earnings would slip as it spends heavily on the
launch of its PlayBook tablet, sending its shares tumbling.

* Oracle shares in Frankfurt (ORCL.F: Quote, Profile, Research) were up 5.1 percent
while RIM shares in Frankfurt (RIM.F: Quote, Profile, Research) were down 10 percent.

* The Nikkei average rose 1.1 percent to round off a week of
gains as foreign investors scooped up battered shares, while
European stocks were flat in morning trade as jitters about
Portugal’s debt crisis following credit downgrades overshadowed
a rally in tech shares spurred by Oracle. [.T][.EU]

* Standard & Poor’s downgraded Portugal’s credit ratings two
notches to BBB — the second lowest investment grade rating —
and said it could cut again by one notch as early as next week
depending on the final shape of the euro zone bailout fund. S&P
followed a two-notch cut by Fitch on Thursday. [ID:nL3E7EP027]

* U.S. crude oil futures (CLc1: Quote, Profile, Research) were steady around $105 a
barrel, ahead of protests planned in Yemen and Bahrain while
investors kept a close eye on the military campaign in Libya.

* On the economic front, investors will keep an eye on the
final reading on fourth-quarter gross domestic product as well
as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer
sentiment survey.

* U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as optimism about upcoming
earnings and investor buying of the quarter’s top performers
lifted the S&P 500 above a key technical level.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 84.54
points, or 0.7 percent, to end at 12,170.56. The Standard &
Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) climbed 12.12 points, or 0.9 percent, to
1,309.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 38.12 points,
or 1.4 percent, to 2,736.42.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Dan Lalor)

U.S. stock futures signal gains; techs in focus