U.S. stock index futures signal lower Wall St open

LONDON, Sept 20 Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:40am EDT

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LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - * U.S. stock index futures pointed to a weaker open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 all down 0.4 percent.

* The Labor Department releases at 1230 GMT first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended Sept. 15. Economists forecast a total of 375,000 new filings, compared with 382,000 in the prior week.

* Pay-TV group BSkyB is 'fit and proper' to hold a broadcast licence, Britain's media regulator has found, after an investigation sparked by the revelations of criminality at its largest shareholder News Corp.

* Information services company Markit releases its U.S. flash Markit Manufacturing PMI for September at 1258 GMT. Economists expect the PMI to read 51.5, a repeat of the final August number.

* Liberty Global Inc, the majority owner of Telenet Group Holding NV, plans to launch a tender offer for the remainder of the Belgian cable company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

* The Conference Board releases at 1400 GMT its report on August leading economic indicators. Economists forecast a 0.1 percent drop, compared with a 0.4 percent rise in July.

* Results from Oracle, the world's No. 3 software maker, could provide clues as to whether corporate technology spending will pick up at the end of the year when managers rush to spend remaining budgeted funds.

* Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank releases September business activity survey at 1400 GMT. Economists forecast a reading of -4.0, versus -7.1 in August.

* Adobe Systems Inc, maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software, said current-quarter earnings will decline or remain flat as customers take to the company's new subscription-based model faster than expected.

* After the bell, shares of railroad company Norfolk Southern Corp dropped 5.5 percent after it said weaker shipments of coal and merchandise as well as lower fuel- surcharge revenue would reduce its third-quarter earnings compared with a year earlier.

* Bank of America Corp is planning to cut 16,000 jobs by year end as it speeds up a company-wide cost-cutting initiative amid declining revenues, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

* European equities fell 0.5 percent on Thursday as weak Chinese manufacturing data reignited global growth concerns, hitting miners, while euro zone banks continued to trim recent gains on uncertainty about if and when Spain would apply for a bailout.

* Manufacturing in China contracted for the 11th month in a row in September, according to a private sector survey of factory managers that indicated the world's second largest economy remains on track for a seventh quarter of slowing growth.

* Brent crude eased below $108 a barrel after China's manufacturing data, weakening sentiment further in a market already reeling from Saudi Arabia's pledge to keep global oil prices low.

* U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as investors dipped back into the market after the recent pullback from a rally that lifted the S&P 500 to just shy of five-year highs.

* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.32 points, or 0.10 percent, to end at 13,577.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 1.73 points, or 0.12 percent, to finish at 1,461.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 4.82 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 3,182.62. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Chris Pizzey, London MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)

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