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

LONDON Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:32am EST

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LONDON Nov 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to higher open on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500 staying flat, the Dow Jones futures up 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq 100 futures rising 0.3 percent.

* The U.S. market opens for a half-day business on Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

* U.S. shoppers took advantage of retailers offering a Thursday night start to the traditional post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping season, lining up at stores to get deals on electronics and other items or to just see what the fuss was about.

* Shares of Research In Motion Ltd surged 17.3 percent in Toronto on Thursday on rising optimism around RIM's soon-to-be-launched BlackBerry 10 devices that will vie against Apple's iPhone and Android-based smartphones.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve's securities portfolio has not reached a level where it would impede the central bank from carrying on with its bond-buying programs, John Williams, the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

* Blackstone Group LP and China agribusiness company New Hope Group are through to the final round of bidding for Australia's largest poultry producer Inghams Enterprises, a deal that could be worth as much as A$1.4 billion ($1.5 billion), sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

* The Indian joint venture of Wal-Mart Stores Inc has suspended its chief financial officer and other employees as it investigates alleged violations of U.S. anti-bribery laws, a development that could hamper India's efforts to open its domestic supermarket sector to foreign investment.

* Pfizer Inc has cut the Canadian price of its Viagra erectile dysfunction drug after the Supreme Court of Canada opened the door to sales of generic versions of the drug, the company said on Thursday.

* European shares were 0.2 percent lower on Friday after opening higher, with investors booking profits after four straight days of gains.

* Prospects of a deal on the European Union's long-term budget dimmed on Friday after a fresh compromise proposal offered concessions to France and Poland but ignored British and German demands for deeper overall spending cuts.

* International lenders have agreed new steps to cut Greece's debt pile further but it still has to fill a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) gap to gain the IMF's approval for its next tranche of aid, a senior Greek government official said on Friday.

* U.S. stocks finished modestly higher on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 up for a fourth session, although volume was one of the year's lowest on the day ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

* On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 48.38 points, or 0.38 percent, to end at 12,836.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 3.22 points, or 0.23 percent, to finish at 1,391.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.87 points, or 0.34 percent, to close at 2,926.55.

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