US STOCKS-Futures mixed on "fiscal cliff" worries

NEW YORK Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:35am EST

NEW YORK Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were mixed on Thursday as a new round of stimulus for the economy was not enough to offset worries over the impact of the impending "fiscal cliff".

* In the European Union, finance ministers reached a deal to make the European Central Bank the bloc's top banking supervisor. The move could boost confidence in leaders' ability to tackle the region's sovereign debt crisis.

* But the set of U.S. tax hikes and spending cuts that are set to come into effect in the new year remained at the forefront of investors' minds. Negotiators on Wednesday warned the showdown over reaching a deal could drag on past Christmas.

* The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced a fresh bout of stimulus for the U.S. economy, but markets focused on comments from Chairman Ben Bernanke, who reiterated that monetary policy would not be enough to offset going over the fiscal cliff.

* Investors are worried that doing so could send the economy back into recession, though most expect a deal will be struck eventually.

* The central bank also took the unprecedented step of indicating interest rates would remain near zero until unemployment falls to at least 6.5 percent.

* In a busy day of data, reports on U.S. producer prices, retail sales and first time claims for unemployment benefits will all be released at 8:30 am ET (1330 GMT). Business inventories are due at 10:00 am ET (1500 GMT).

* S&P 500 futures fell 0.70 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 were up 11 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 1.25 points.

* Sprint Nextel Corp is looking to buy Clearwire Corp stock it does not already own for $2.90 per share, it said in a regulatory filing. Shares of Clearwire were up 5.5 percent at $2.90 in premarket trading.

* Knight Capital Group Inc expects to make a decision on its future ownership by early next week, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

* Australia's GrainCorp Ltd rejected a sweetened $2.9 billion bid from Archer Daniels Midland Co. Analysts said ADM was likely to lift its bid for the company.