By Yashaswini Swamynathan

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher after the Christmas holiday, supported by small gains in U.S. crude prices.

U.S. crude was up 0.3 percent at $53.16 after a deal to limit supply came into effect on Sunday, boosting expectations of higher prices. [O/R]* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> marked its seventh straight week of gains on Friday, feeding on optimism that President-elect Donald Trump's plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending would bolster the economy.

Investors are now looking for catalysts that would help the index breach the 20,000 mark before the year end, and whether the Trump rally has enough momentum to continue into the new year.


A report at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show that the consumer confidence index rose to 109 in December after hitting 107.1 the previous month.

Trading volumes are likely to remain light due to the year-end holiday season, and no Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to speak until January.

Global markets made small gains on data that showed Chinese industry racked up its strongest profit growth in three months in November, suggesting the world's second-largest economy was improving.

Biogen shares <BIIB.O> rose nearly 3 percent to $296 in light premarket trading after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved its drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic cause of death in infants. * Ionis Pharma <IONS.O>, which has discovered the drug and licensed to Biogen, was up 6.9 percent at $57.11. * Amphastar Pharma <AMPH.O> fell 6.1 percent to $19.19 after the drugmaker received a complete response letter from the FDA for its asthma inhaler.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)