US STOCKS-Futures little changed after Fed decision triggers rally
* Facebook to offer 70 mln shares, stock drops
* Jobless claims, leading indicators, home sales data due
* Futures off: Dow 17 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts
NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve said the economy was strong enough for it to begin paring its massive stimulus, sending the S&P 500 and Dow industrials to fresh closing highs.
The Fed's decision Wednesday to trim its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion was accompanied by a dovish indication of rock-bottom interest rates for the foreseeable future, a combination that enticed buyers and helped the S&P 500 and Dow post their largest gains in two months.
"If the Fed can afford to taper, the economy is strong enough to justify stock prices," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
He said with the market at record highs, "investors need to see fourth quarter earnings support current prices; until we get the details of how the holiday season shopping went, it's going to be hard for the market to break to the upside from here."
S&P 500 futures fell 2 points but were slightly higher in terms of 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 fell 17 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 9 points.
Facebook fell 3 percent in premarket trading after it announced the offering of 70 million shares, including more than 41 million shares from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg worth about $2.3 billion.
Dish is considering a bid for T-Mobile US next year, according to people close to the matter, in what would be the satellite TV provider's second attempt at acquiring a major wireless operator.
Darden Restaurants said it would sell or spin off its Red Lobster business, buckling under pressure from activist investor Barington Capital Group. Darden shares fell 1.1 percent in premarket trading.
The Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended Dec. 14 at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 334,000 new filings compared with 368,000 in the prior week.
At 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for November, the Conference Board reports November leading indicators and the Philadelphia Fed releases its December business activity survey.