Stocks were set for a slightly higher open on Wednesday after data showed retail sales rose more than expected in February.
The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 1.1 percent, the largest rise since September, after a revised 0.2 percent gain in January.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected retail sales, which account for about 30 percent of consumer spending, to rise 0.5 percent last month after a previously reported 0.1 percent gain in January.
Investors had been looking for signs of any impact on spending triggered by elevated unemployment and a higher payroll tax that went into effect at the start of the year.
"That was a better-than-expected report across the board, even the numbers excluding autos and gas were better than expected and the (revision upward for) the prior month - so much for the increase in payroll taxes," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
"Pretty much it's been a regular habit that the (economic) numbers have been coming in better than expected."
Other data showed import prices rose more than expected in February, driven by the biggest increase in fuel prices since August, while export prices rose 0.8 percent for the month, the largest monthly gain since September.
S&P 500 futures added 0.6 point 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 8 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.5 point.
Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), business inventories for January are due. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a rise of 0.4 percent versus a 0.1 percent increase in December.
The rise in futures put the Dow on track for a ninth consecutive day of gains and the S&P on pace to resume its climb toward an all-time closing high set on October 9, 2007.
Boeing Co advanced 0.7 percent to $84.75 in premarket trading after the company won approval from U.S. transport regulators on Tuesday to start testing a redesigned battery for the 787 Dreamliner, putting it a step closer to returning the troubled airplane to regular service.
Coach shares rose 2 percent to $49.80 in premarket trading after Citigroup raised its rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral.
But Express Inc slumped 13.1 percent to $16.39 after the apparel retailer posted fourth-quarter earnings and said it was off to a slow start in the first quarter.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals shares tumbled 36.9 percent to $7.85 before the opening bell after the company forecast a steep drop in full-year sales as it expects uptake of its biggest-selling product, colon cancer drug Fusilev, to significantly drop as cheaper generics enter the market.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)