US STOCKS-Futures higher, point to positive start for 2015

* Wall Street coming off strong year, fourth quarter

* Energy, biotech likely to remain in focus

* General Motors (NYSE: GM – news) announces new recalls, shares edge up

* Futures up: Dow 65 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 14.25 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Jan 2 (Reuters) – Dow Futures rose on Friday as equities looked to rebound from a sharp decline in the previous session, though moves and volume were likely to remain tepid as the holiday week draws to a close.

* Wall Street ended December with solid gains for both the year and fourth quarter, though a broad decline on Wednesday pushed the S&P 500 into negative territory for the month.

* While the market has had an upward bias since mid-December, with the S&P rising in seven of the past 10 sessions, many portfolio managers and traders make adjustments to their holdings early in the new year. The S&P is about 1.5 percent away from its record close, and market participants will be questioning whether current levels are justified.

* The CBOE Volatility index, a measure of investor anxiety, is up 32 percent so far this week, but remains historically at low levels. Still, a pickup in profit growth may be essential if the market is to continue adding to its gains.

* Oil’s drop of about 50 percent was one of biggest stories of 2014 and will continue to be in focus. Crude oil fell 0.5 percent on Friday and remained on track for its 13th negative week of the past 14, recently hitting its lowest since May 2009.

* Biotechnology stocks were among the most volatile of 2014, and while the Nasdaq Biotech index ended the year with a gain of 34 percent, the group suffered sharp pullbacks throughout the year.

* On Thursday, when the stock market was closed for the New (KOSDAQ: 160550.KQ – news) Year’s holiday, General Motors Co announced three new vehicle recalls, the biggest involving the ignition design of several SUV and pickup truck models. GM shares were pressured throughout 2014 as ignition switch problems led to accidents that caused more than 40 deaths and the recall of millions of vehicles. Shares (Dusseldorf: DI6.DU – news) rose 0.8 percent to $ 35.20 in premarket trading.

* Investors were looking ahead to a reading on November construction spending, which is seen rising 0.3 percent, as well as the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index, which is expected to fall to 57.6 in December from 58.7.

* Despite the gains implied by futures, major indexes remained on track for a negative week. The Dow is down 1.3 percent, while the S&P is off 1.4 percent and the Nasdaq has fallen 1.5 percent.

Futures snapshot at 6:58:

* S&P 500 e-minis added 6.5 points, or 0.32 percent, with 93,017 contracts changing hands.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14.25 points, or 0.34 percent, on volume of 13,117 contracts.

* Dow e-minis jumped 65 points, or 0.37 percent, with 13,315 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Dow Futures

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