U.S. stock index futures point to flat-to-lower start
LONDON Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat-to-lower open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.1 percent at 0950 GMT.
* Contracts on the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 were flat in percentage terms.
* Japan's Nikkei average surged above 9,700 for the first time in eight months, led by exporters, as the yen fell to a multi-month low on mounting expectations of aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan after a general election at the weekend.
* European shares slipped on Thursday after persistent concern about U.S. austerity measures that could hit growth in the world's largest economy overshadowed fresh stimulus steps from the Federal Reserve.
* Google's navigation tool has returned to the iPhone, months after Apple's home-grown mapping service flopped, prompting user complaints, the firing of an executive and a public apology from Apple's CEO.
* Adobe Systems, the maker of Photoshop software, reports results, expected to show earnings per share fell to $0.57 in its fourth quarter, from $0.67 one year earlier.
* GrainCorp Ltd on Thursday rejected a sweetened $2.9 billion bid from Archer Daniels Midland, putting pressure on the U.S. agribusiness giant to boost its offer for Australia's last major independent grains handler.
* Knight Capital Group Inc expects to make a decision on its future ownership by early next week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
* The U.S. unit of Britain's BAE Systems Plc said it has won a contract valued at up to $400 million to maintain and service more than 300 U.S. Navy trainer aircraft, beating out incumbent Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies , and L-3 Communications.
* The Pentagon will pay about 4 percent less for each new Lockheed Martin Corp F-35A fighter jet when it signs a deal worth $3.8 billion with the No. 1 U.S. defense contractor on Friday, according to sources familiar with the deal.
* American Airlines creditors want a potential merger with US Airways Group Inc to be an all-stock deal rather than one that pays some claims in cash, three people familiar with the matter said, in a move that underscores confidence in a merged airline.
* Solar installer SolarCity is set to begin trading on the Nasdaq after halving the value of its initial public offering. The deal has been highly anticipated in clean tech and venture capital circles as alternative energy startups have had a difficult time attracting investor interest.
* The U.S. Labor Dept releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended Dec. 8 at 1330 GMT. They were expected to show 370,000 new filings, a repeat of the previous weeks figure.
* The U.S. Commerce Dept's November retail sales, also due out 1330 GMT, were forecast to show a 0.5 percent rise, compared with a 0.3 percent decrease in October. Excluding automobiles, sales are expected to be unchanged, a repeat of the October level.
* Producer prices were forecast to show a 0.5 percent decrease compared with a 0.2 percent drop in October. Excluding volatile food and energy items, PPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent versus with a 0.2 percent decrease in October.
* The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 2.99 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,245.45 on Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up just 0.64 of a point, or 0.04 percent, to 1,428.48. But the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 8.49 points, or 0.28 percent, to end at 3,013.81.
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