NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Investors may look to do some stock shopping Friday after the government reported the strongest jump in retail sales in five months and oil prices cooled from their record levels.
Stock futures inched higher early Friday after the retail sales report and as oil fell closer to the $54 a barrel level.
The Commerce Department reported a 1.5 percent increase in retail sales in September, compared with a revised fall of 0.2 percent in August and estimates for a gain of 0.7 percent. The September jump was the largest since March.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude futures fell 35 cents to $54.41 a barrel in electronic trading, coming off Thursday's record close of $54.76. Brent oil futures lost 21 cents to $49.88 a barrel in London.
In corporate news, drugmaker Pfizer said Friday that its Bextra drug, seen as an alternative to Merck's Vioxx arthritis medication, may raise heart risk in high-risk bypass surgery patients.
Shares of Pfizer (Research) fell about 0.5 percent in before-hours trading Friday.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed lower Friday, although other major markets ended higher. Major European markets were mostly lower.
Among U.S. stocks trading in Europe, Sun Microsystems (Research) rose about 3 percent higher after the maker of Internet gear posted essentially break-even quarterly results, excluding special items, allowing it to beat forecasts of a 3-cent loss.
Bond prices fell in early trading, with the yield on the 10-year bond at 4.03 percent, after the government said its Producer Price Index, which measures prices at the wholesale level, rose 0.1 percent in September, compared to a 0.1 percent decline in August.
The September increase was in line with forecasts of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.
The dollar was little changed against the euro and lower versus the yen.
Rising oil prices and a weaker-than-expected earnings report from General Motors sent stocks tumbling Thursday, as each of the major indexes lost about 1 percent. The Dow lost more than 100 points, closing below 10,000. (See chart for details.)
In other corporate news, Northwest Airlines (Research), the nation's No. 4 airline, and its pilots union reported reaching a tentative labor agreement Thursday evening that will reportedly save the airline $265 million annually.
And the Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Delta Air Lines (Research) and the pilots union were making progress on a new labor deal. Delta, whose management has threatened to file for bankruptcy, also projected a bigger third-quarter loss.
Shares of Netflix (Research) tumbled 35 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the companycut its profit outlook to break-even in 2005, and said it expects online retailer Amazon.com (Research) to enter its DVD-by-mail rental business soon, perhaps before the end of the year.