U.S. stock index futures signal flat to higher open

PARIS Fri Nov 9, 2012 5:09am EST

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PARIS Nov 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to higher open on Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.15 percent, Dow Jones futures flat and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.29 percent at 1000 GMT.

* World stocks were on course for their worst weekly performance since June on Friday as concerns over the U.S. fiscal cliff and the outlook for Europe hit sentiment.

* Groupon will be in focus after the group's results again fell short of Wall Street's already-cautious expectations as the daily deal company failed to turn around a struggling European business, sending its shares to a record low.

* Activist investor Carl Icahn said on Thursday he has considered a hostile takeover bid for Netflix but was uncertain he stood a chance of acquiring the Internet streaming service in which he holds a 10 percent stake.

* Mexico's top cement maker Cemex said on Thursday that it was pleased with the way its U.S. business was evolving but acknowledged it is still far from fully recovering.

* Energizer Holdings Inc said on Thursday that it would cut more than 10 percent of its workforce, or about 1,500 people.

* Boeing Co reported it has bagged more than 1,000 net new orders so far this year, putting the U.S. planemaker on course to sell more aircraft than European rival Airbus for the first time since 2006.

* Career Education Corp will close 23 campuses and cut 900 jobs amid losses and falling student enrollments that also threaten to affect its financial position.

* TSMC, the world's biggest contract chip maker, said on Friday that sales in October rose 32.3 percent from a year earlier to a record high.

* Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc said it is evaluating its future, confirming a report that the healthcare technology firm may sell itself, sending its shares up 7 percent.

* Merrill Lynch, part of Bank of America Corp, on Thursday lost its bid to dismiss a federal regulator's lawsuit accusing it of misleading Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying billions of dollars of risky mortgage debt.

* Nvidia forecast revenue below expectations due to a slowdown in tablet-processor shipments and a troubled PC market but shares of the graphics chipmaker rose on the announcement of a quarterly dividend.

* Rare earth producer Molycorp Inc reported a third-quarter loss on Thursday, as lower rare earth prices and higher production costs outweighed a boost in output.

* Chrysler Group LLC's minority owner is expected to lay out its argument on Monday in a legal dispute over the price Italian carmaker Fiat will pay for the first of several incremental stakes in the U.S. carmaker.

* Russia's second-largest crude producer, LUKOIL, said on Friday it will study an offer from Exxon regarding Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield, which the U.S. major wants to leave, Interfax news agency reported. [ID:nL5E8M93IR

* President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress must urgently confront the country's looming year-end "fiscal cliff," a senior Federal Reserve policy-maker said on Thursday. "This could cause tremendous damage to the U.S. economy if it is not addressed in an appropriate way," St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told reporters.

* The International Monetary Fund on Thursday urged the United States to quickly reach an agreement on a permanent fix to avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts early next year, saying a stop-gap solution could be harmful to the global economy.

* On the macro front, investors awaited the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary November consumer sentiment index, due at 1455 GMT, expected to show a reading of 83.0 compared with 82.6 in the final October report.

* Investors will also keep an eye on wholesale inventories for September, due at 1500 GMT.

* U.S. stocks fell on Thursday and could be in line for more weakness as worries about Washington's ability to find a timely solution to the "fiscal cliff" dominate investor thinking in coming weeks.

* The Dow Jones industrial average lost 121.41 points, or 0.94 percent, to end at 12,811.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 17.02 points, or 1.22 percent, to 1,377.51, ending at its lowest level since Aug. 2. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 41.70 points, or 1.42 percent, to close at 2,895.58.

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