Stock futures rise on bright retail reports

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NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures are rising slightly as retailers report better-than-expected February sales and investors await a slew of other economic news.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 29 points to 12,966. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures inched up 3 points to 1,367. And futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which on Wednesday briefly topped 3,000 for the first time in more than a decade, gained 11 points to 2,634.

Most markets overseas are higher as well.

Retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp. and Target Corp. reported better than expected February sales on higher customer traffic and customers spent more on their visits.

In economic news, February auto sales are expected to hit over 14 million for the second month in a row while a key manufacturing index is expected to hit the highest reading since June.