* Non-farm payrolls forecast at 210,000
* Texas Instruments falls after outlook
* China consumer inflation slows to 20-month low
* Futures off: S&P 0.5 pt, Dow 5 pts, Nasdaq 2 pts
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, March 9 U.S. stock index futures
edged lower on Friday after their strongest two-day
gain in nearly three months and ahead of a report likely to show
U.S. employment grew solidly for a third straight month.
The U.S. Labor Department releases its February payrolls
report at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT). Economists forecast 210,000
non-farm jobs were created during the month, compared with
243,0000 in January. The unemployment rate is seen unchanged at
Greece averted the immediate risk of an uncontrolled
default, winning strong acceptance of its bond swap offer to
private creditors. The market had run up for two days on hopes
"It is a pure case of the market having discounted the fact
there would be a successful Greek debt swap," said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.
"Now we turn our focus to the big number of the month, the
employment stat in the United States."
Cardillo said a strong report, that is better than forecast,
would set the S&P 500 to move up into the 1,385-1,400 range next
week. The index closed at 1365.91 on Thursday.
S&P 500 futures fell 0.5 of a point but were just
above 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
down 5 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2 points.
Exactly three years ago the S&P 500 posted a 12-year
closing low at 676.53 during the height of the financial crisis.
The index has more than doubled since then, although it stalled
last year before resuming a rally in 2012.
Shares in Texas Instruments Inc fell2.3 percent
after the bell on Thursday after the chipmaker said revenue
growth would resume in the second quarter, signaling an end to
the inventory correction that dogged it last year.
Aeropostale Inc fell 2.4 percent in late trading on
Thursday after the teen clothing retailer forecast quarterly
profits below estimates and reported lower fourth-quarter
China's annual consumer inflation slowed to a 20-month low
in February, and factory output and retail sales also cooled,
giving policymakers ample room to further loosen monetary
Carnival Corp, the world's biggest cruise operator,
is due to release first-quarter earnings. In January, the
Miami-based company said the Costa Concordia catastrophe would
wipe up to $175 million from profit this year . The shares
fell 0.7 percent to $30.74.
General Motors Co and Italian carmaker Fiat
talked briefly about merging their European businesses earlier
this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
The U.S. Justice Department warned Apple Inc and
five major U.S. publishers it plans to sue them, alleging they
colluded to raise the price of electronic books, a source told
European stocks traded in a narrow range Friday,
last trading up 0.02 percent.