December 11, 2009 / 2:08 PM / 9 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to rise after strong retail sales

* November retail sales rise more than expected

* Boeing says 787 Dreamliner test flight may come Dec. 15

* Futures up: S&P 5.8 pts, Dow 58 pts, Nasdaq 8.5 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US] (Recasts, adds details, updates prices)

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Friday after data showed retail sales rose more than expected last month, supporting optimism the burgeoning economic recovery would be sustainable.

Boeing Co (BA.N) rose 2.3 percent to $56.25 in premarket trade after it said Thursday its 787 Dreamliner jet could start test-flying on Dec. 15 after falling two years behind schedule. For details, see [ID:nGEE5BA12H]

United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) could gain after the open after the diversified manufacturer said it expects profits to rise about 10 percent next year as heavy cost-cutting pays off. UTX gained 1.4 percent to $68.87 in light trading. [ID:nN10202403]

Data showed total retail sales increased 1.3 percent in November, the largest advance since August and topping the consensus analyst forecast for a 0.7 percent gain. [ID:nN10129212]

“It suggests the holiday shopping season got off to a pretty good start despite the weak weekly data that we’ve seen,” said John Canally, investment strategist and economist for LPL Financial in Boston.

“It keeps the recovery on solid footing. The risk of a double-dip ebbs with every strong report we get.”

S&P 500 futures SPc2 rose 5.8 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 DJc2 gained 58 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures NDc2 added 8.5 points.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers December consumer sentiment index will provide further insight into the health of the consumer and is expected at 9:55 a.m. (1455 GMT). Wall Street is expecting a preliminary December reading of 68.5, up from 67.4 in the final November report.

Other data due Friday include business inventories for October. Please see [ECI/US]

National Semiconductor Corp (NSM.N) forecast its fiscal third-quarter revenue would be roughly flat compared with the second quarter’s $345 million, while analysts expect $331 million. National Semi also posted second-quarter results that beat estimates, but its shares slid 3.1 percent to $14.81 on worries about its ability to regain market share. [ID:nN10142026]

The top sovereign credit ratings of Britain and the United States are not under threat of downgrade right now, but under a worst-case scenario, a cut could come by 2013, Moody’s Investors Service said. [ID:nTOE5BA06R]

The comments eased jitters about sovereign credit risk that cropped up this week after Standard & Poor’s cut its sovereign credit rating outlook for Spain and Fitch downgraded Greece’s debt rating.

Stocks rose Thursday as signs of improving trends in the job market and a decline in the U.S. October trade deficit reassured investors the economy was on a steady growth path. (Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

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