U.S. stock futures rose on Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
Retail is a key chunk of the U.S. economy — consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of it. Shopping trends on Black Friday may signal consumers' appetite for spending over the next few weeks. November and December, which can account for as much as 40 percent of a retailer's annual revenue, are crucial for stores.
Dow Jones industrial futures added 42 points to 12,842. The broader S&P futures gained 4.8 to 1393.10, while Nasdaq futures rose 12.75 to 2,608.75.
Wall Street closes early on the Friday after Thanksgiving, at 1 p.m. EST.
In an effort to lure shoppers this year, many stores were opening earlier than ever. Target and Toys R Us opened on Thanksgiving evening. Retailers are also trying to draw shoppers with free layaway and shipping, by matching prices of online rivals and by beefing up their mobile shopping apps.
European futures edged higher, while Asian futures closed up earlier.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares rose 0.3 percent to 5,807 while Germany's DAX gained 0.2 percent to 7,258. The CAC-40 in France added 0.2 percent to 3,505.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent to 21,913.98 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 percent to 1,911.33. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
Investors are monitoring developments in Brussels as European Union leaders try to cobble together a budget deal. Markets expect that another meeting will be needed for an agreement.