PARIS Dec 21 U.S. stock index futures signalled
a sharply lower open on Friday after a Republican proposal for
averting the "fiscal cliff" failed to get enough support.
* Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1.4 percent, Dow
Jones futures were 1.3 percent lower and Nasdaq 100
futures were down 1.4 percent at 0939 GMT.
* Late on Thursday, House of Representatives Speaker John
Boehner conceded there were insufficient votes to pass his tax
bill to help avert the "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax rises and
spending cuts, leaving only 11 days for politicians to come to a
* Nike Inc will be in focus after it reported
forecast-topping quarterly profit on Thursday on strong North
American demand, while its orders volume indicated steady
worldwide demand. Its shares jumped 6 percent after the bell.
* Research In Motion shares tumbled more
than 10 percent on Thursday after the company reported the first
ever decline in its subscriber numbers and outlined plans to
transform the way it charges for its BlackBerry services.
* Red Hat Inc, the world's largest distributor of
Linux operating software, posted third-quarter revenue above
analysts' estimates on strong growth in its subscription
business, sending its shares up 6 percent in after-market
* Instagram, the popular photo-sharing service own by
Facebook, has retreated from some but not all of the
controversial changes in its terms of service that prompted a
fierce backlash from users earlier this week.
* Shares in the defence sector will be in focus after the
U.S. House of Representatives approved the final version of the
annual defense policy bill on Thursday. The bill authorizes
$633.3 billion in defense spending for 2013, easing limits on
satellite exports and providing more Marines for embassy
* U.S. diversified manufacturer Crane Co said it will
buy MEI Conlux Holdings and its Japanese affiliate for about
$820 million from private equity firms Bain Capital and
Advantage Partners to widen its base in making machines that can
handle money through automated mechanisms.
* U.S. railcar maker Greenbrier Companies Inc has
yet again rejected a bid from American Railcar Industries Inc
, controlled by activist investor Carl Icahn, saying the
sweetened offer still undervalued the company.
* Oil giant ConocoPhillips will sell its Nigerian
businesses to Oando Energy Resources Inc for about
$1.79 billion, the companies said on Thursday.
* Tech giant Apple Inc, battling Samsung
Electronics Co over patents in several countries,
argued on Thursday that a U.S. appeals court should reconsider
its decision to overturn a pretrial sales ban on Samsung for
* The U.S. Air Force is unlikely to reach an agreement with
Lockheed Martin Corp before the end of the year about a
multibillion dollar purchase of new military communications
satellites, a top Air Force acquisition official said.
* On the macro front, investors awaited data on durable
goods, at 1330 GMT, as well as the Thomson Reuters/University of
Michigan final December consumer sentiment survey, due at 1455
* U.S stocks rebounded from early losses on Thursday after
Republican House Speaker Boehner said he would keep working on a
solution to the "fiscal cliff" while also slamming President
Barack Obama's approach to budget talks.
* The Dow Jones industrial average gained 59.75
points, or 0.45 percent, to close at 13,311.72. The S&P 500
rose 7.88 points, or 0.55 percent, to 1,443.69. The
Nasdaq Composite climbed 6.02 points, or 0.20 percent,