US STOCKS-Futures rise, helped by Cisco results

Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:21am EST

* Tech shares may rebound after Cisco results

* Fiscal cliff, Europe could drive trading

* Abercrombie, Staples rally after strong results

* October retail sales data on tap, seen down 0.2 pct

* Futures up: Dow 57 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 10.5 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday, indicating that equities could rebound after a series of weak sessions on strong results from Cisco and two retail chains.

The S&P 500 has fallen 3.8 percent over the past five trading days, with most of the losses driven by uncertainty over the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff" and concerns about Europe's economic troubles.

The index closed below its 200-day moving average for a fourth day in a row on Tuesday, a technical indicator that suggests recent declines could gain momentum.

Trading has been volatile, with positive momentum difficult to sustain.

"It seems as if every minor rally we get, gets sold into, a trend that has been both consistent and concerning," said Christian Wagner, chief executive officer at Longview Capital Management in Wilmington, Delaware. "This could be the new normal until the fiscal cliff gets resolved, and that will make for a difficult environment."

Economic reports on Wednesday include October retail sales, which are on tap for 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) and are seen dropping 0.2 percent. In September, sales climbed 1.1 percent. Also, the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting will be released later on Wednesday.

Cisco Systems Inc reported first-quarter earnings and revenue late Tuesday that beat expectations, sending the stock soaring 7.3 percent to $18.08 in premarket trading Wednesday. The networking company and Dow component also forecast flat earnings and slower revenue growth for the current quarter.

Cisco, viewed as a harbinger for spending on information technology because of its global reach and customers across all sectors, could lend support to the tech sector.

Technology shares have dropped almost 10 percent over the past two months, dragged down by earnings disappointments from Google and others. Tech was the worst performing sector on Tuesday.

"For Cisco to beat expectations in an environment like this is great and speaks to the solid management at the company," Wagner said. "Hopefully this will do something for the tech sector, which has been so hurt by Apple lately."

Apple, the most valuable U.S. company, has tumbled in recent months by 20 percent from its peak.

S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were 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 added 57 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 10.5 points.

Macroeconomic issues will likely play a major role in how stocks trade as investors grapple with the impact of Europe's debt crisis and the fiscal cliff, a series of large, mandated tax hikes and spending cuts that start to take effect next year.

Analysts say serious fiscal negotiations are still weeks away, but that the failure to reach a deal in Congress could tip the world's largest economy into recession.

European shares were 0.5 percent lower as Greece's unresolved crisis raised questions about the region's potential for economic growth, while anti-austerity strikes across southern Europe added to concerns that fiscal reforms would be politically difficult to implement.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she expected a real solution for Greece rather than a quick fix.

In earnings news, Abercrombie & Fitch Co soared 25 percent to $39 before the bell after posting a steep rise in its third quarter. Staples Inc rose 5 percent to $11.81 after posting earnings that beat expectations.

U.S. stocks fell in a volatile session Tuesday, pressured by Microsoft Corp which fell after the surprise departure of a key executive. However, retail names outperformed after Home Depot raised its outlook.