Stock futures rise as optimism grows on economy

NEW YORK (AP) ? U.S. stock futures are rising on improving U.S. economic indicators and the approval in Italy of an austerity plan intended to get the country’s finances under control.

Dow Jones industrial futures are up 0.4 percent at 11,870. The broader S&P 500 futures are up 0.6 percent at 1,219. Nasdaq composite futures are up 0.5 percent at 2,235.

Investor sentiment rose after the U.S. government reported on Thursday that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped sharply last week. Positive manufacturing reports also helped.

U.S. investors will be looking at a government report on consumer prices that is expected to show inflation was mild in November.

In Italy, the lower house of parliament approved a $39 billion austerity package.