* Empire state manufacturing, industrial production on tap
* Bank shares may be in spotlight after Moody's downgrade
* Futures up: Dow 26 pts, S&P 3.3 pts, Nasdaq 9.5 pts
NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged
higher on Friday ahead of a batch of economic reports, setting
up the Dow and S&P 500 indexes for fresh record highs.
* U.S. equities rallied on Thursday, with the S&P 500 ending
just 10 points away from 1,800, following a robust defense of
monetary stimulus from Janet Yellen, who will take over at the
helm of the U.S. Federal Reserve early next year.
* Data due to be released Friday include the Empire State
manufacturing survey for November, import and export prices and
industrial production figures for October and wholesale trade
* No major S&P 500 companies are due to report earnings.
* Bank shares could be in the spotlight after Moody's
Investors Service cut the long-term debt ratings of Morgan
Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase &
Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp by one notch
late Thursday, concluding that the government wouldn't bail out
the institutions if they fail.
* Top U.S. hedge fund managers in the third quarter zoned in
on the consumer sector, with investment plays ranging from
luxury auction house Sotheby's to struggling department
store chain J.C. Penney Co.
* S&P 500 futures rose 3.3 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 rose 26
points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.5 points.
* The Dow and the S&P 500 index ended at new highs on
Thursday after comments from Janet Yellen, the U.S. Federal
Reserve Chair nominee, suggested the Fed's accommodative
policies would continue as long as the economy remains fragile.
* European shares rose back towards five-year highs on
Friday, buoyed by prospects for a further dose of accommodative
central bank policies that were tipped to keep the equity rally