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

PARIS Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:16am EST

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PARIS Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to higher open on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.09 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.04 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.01 percent at 0957 GMT.

* European stocks dipped on Monday, as the first signs of movement from Republicans in U.S. budget talks failed to convince investors, who booked some profit on a brisk four-week rally.

* A landslide election victory for Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, however, sparked recovery hopes for the world's third-biggest economy and sent the Nikkei to a near 9-month high.

* Republican House Speaker John Boehner edged closer to President Barack Obama's key demands as they try to avert the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect unless Congress intervenes by Dec. 31.

* Apple Inc will be in the spotlight after the company said it has sold more than 2 million of its new iPhone 5 in China during the three days after its launch there on Friday, marking China's best-selling iPhone rollout ever.

* Citigroup cuts its rating on Apple shares to 'neutral' from 'buy' and slashes its price target to $575 from $675.

* Google may not face any major repercussions from the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) two-year-old anti-trust investigation into its web search business, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

* KKR & Co L.P. has finished raising $6 billion for its second pan-Asia fund, according to sources, the largest private equity pool ever assembled for the region, with strong demand from pension funds and endowments seeking emerging market returns.

* American International Group Inc may raise as much as $6.5 billion from the sale of its remaining stake in AIA Group Ltd in Asia's second-largest block sale ever, exiting a business the U.S. insurer started nearly 100 years ago.

* Networking equipment company Cisco Systems Inc has hired Barclays to sell its Linksys home router unit, a report said on Sunday.

* U.S. stocks fell on Friday as another slide in Apple took a toll and investors unloaded some shares because of the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

* The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 35.71 points, or 0.27 percent, to 13,135.01 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 5.87 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,413.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 20.83 points, or 0.70 percent, to close at 2,971.33.

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