Wall Street to open firm after Thursday's gains, Wells Fargo results

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks were set to firm at the open on Friday after the S&P 500 climbed to a five-year high a day earlier, as record profit from Wells Fargo failed to excite investors who awaited fresh trading incentives.

"The bigger news lies ahead of us in terms of earnings and also reports on Christmas sales, which seem to be poor so far," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Wells Fargo , the first major U.S. bank to post earnings this season, reported a higher fourth-quarter profit as it set aside less money to cover bad loans and made more fees from mortgages. While shares dropped 1.1 percent to $35 in premarket trading, the stock had climbed 2 percent Thursday ahead of the results, and is up 3.6 percent this month so far.

Best Buy shares were volatile in premarket trading after it reported flat holiday sales at established U.S. stores. Shares were last up 5.7 percent at $12.91.

Basic materials shares could be pressured after China's annual consumer inflation rate picked up to a seven-month high, narrowing the scope for the central bank to boost the economy by easing monetary policy.

Meckler said that in the absence of major news, the market will continue to absorb some of the money that comes in from institutional investors at the start of the year. This could give equities an upside bias.

S&P 500 futures were flat and were slightly 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 added 3 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2 points.

American Express said it would take a $600-million quarterly charge relating to 5,400 job cuts and payment of legal bills, a move likely to halve its net income. Its shares dipped 0.5 percent in premarket trading to $60.51.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jet was dogged by further incidents that tested confidence in the new plane. It suffered a cracked cockpit window and an oil leak on separate flights in Japan on Friday. The US Department of Transportation said the jet would be subject to a review of its critical systems by regulators. Boeing shares fell 1.5 percent to $75.90 in premarket trading.

Dendreon Corp shares jumped 14.9 percent to $5.86 after Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "market-perform" and said the drugmaker could be one of the best performers in 2013.

U.S.-traded shares of India's No.2 software services provider Infosys Ltd jumped 15.2 percent premarket after the company raised its revenue forecast.

In a move that could support US equities and boost the global economic outlook, the Japanese government approved a massive $117 billion of spending to revive the world's third-largest economy in the biggest stimulus plan since the financial crisis.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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