US STOCKS-Futures lower, on track for another down week

Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:08am EST

* Investors wary before talks to resolve fiscal cliff

* S&P on track for second straight week of steep losses

* Dell shares fall in premarket as profit slides 47 pct

* Futures down: Dow 46 pts, S&P 3.6 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Friday as investors continued to worry about the looming "fiscal cliff" debate, with Democrats and Republicans appearing to dig into their opposing positions.

* Concerns over the cliff -- large, automatic budget cuts and tax hikes that begin to take effect in the new year -- have pressured stocks ever since the Nov. 6 presidential election. The S&P is on track to notch a second straight week of losses of more than 1 percent.

* President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are meeting for budget and tax talks Friday afternoon, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell recently said his party wouldn't raise tax rates, recalling last year's political impasse over raising the debt ceiling.

* Investors worry that if no deal is reached on the cliff, the economy could slide into recession. These concerns have overshadowed other issues in the economy, resulting in a market where gains have been difficult to sustain. The S&P is down 4.3 percent over the past two weeks.

* Dell Inc will be in focus a day after reporting a steep drop in its quarterly profit. Shares fell 2.5 percent to $9.32 in premarket trading.

* S&P 500 futures fell 3.6 points and were below 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 lost 46 points and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 6 points.

* The S&P is currently down 1.9 percent for the week, while the Dow is off 2.1 percent and the Nasdaq is down 2.3 percent. The S&P 500 sunk to a 3 1/2-month closing low on Thursday and remained well below its 200-day moving average, which it pierced last week.

* While the S&P remains up 7.6 percent for the year, what had looked like a stellar 2012 for stocks has turned into merely an average year, and as 2012 draws to a close, investors are becoming more inclined to protect the gains they have.

* Sears Holdings Corp reported a quarterly loss that was narrower than expected, but same-store sales that fell on weak demand for electronics. Gap Inc raised its full-year profit view, quelling concerns of a slowdown going into the holiday season.

* The European debt crisis also remains in focus as the euro zone relapsed into its second recession since 2009 in the third quarter. European shares fell 0.4 percent, pressured by weakness in banks.

* A flare-up in violence in the Middle East added to market unease as Israeli warplanes bombed targets in and around Gaza city for a second day, while two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip targeted Tel Aviv.

* U.S. stocks ended flat on Thursday with investors wary of making bets in the face of a drawn-out battle over impending tax and spending changes, while retailer Wal-Mart tumbled after disappointing sales.