US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of data

Wed Oct 3, 2012 8:07am EDT

* Best Buy founder, private equity firms, examine books

* Motorola Mobility drops patent complaint against Apple

* Futures: Dow up 2 pts, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 3.75 pts

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Oct 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed Wednesday as expectations that Spain will request a bailout offset concern over a slowing Chinese economy, with modest volume indicating a pause ahead of the release of key U.S. data.

Automatic Data Processing releases its September employment report at 8:15 a.m. ET (1215 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect 143,000 jobs were created in September, against 201,000 new jobs in August.

The Institute for Supply Management releases its September gauge on the services sector at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT). A Reuters survey forecast a reading of 53.2 versus 53.7 in August.

China's services sector weakened in September to its lowest since November 2010, as slow growth in manufacturing was seen feeding through to the rest of the economy.

European equities fell slightly and the euro steadied against the U.S. dollar, underpinned by a belief that Spain will eventually request financial aid, a step towards resolving the euro zone's debt crisis.

"Data has surprised on the downside so expectations are low," said Jack de Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"If we get the (143,000 expected on ADP) or better you could get a positive response in the market," he said, adding that he expects positive news from China and Spain.

S&P 500 futures were unchanged and 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 rose 2 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.75 points.

Best Buy shares gained 2.8 percent in premarket trading as founder Richard Schulze and at least four private equity firms started examining the books of the world's largest consumer electronics chain, in early steps toward what could become an $11 billion buyout.

Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility has dropped a complaint of patent infringement against Apple without explanation.

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