* S&P 500 falls 5.1 percent over the last six sessions
* Weekly jobless claims, October CPI data both on tap
* Futures up: Dow 20 pts, S&P 3.8 pts, Nasdaq 7.75 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Nov 15 U.S. stock index futures edged
higher on Thursday, suggesting equities might stage a rebound
from a series of weak sessions.
* Equities have had difficulty holding onto gains lately, as
investors seek reasons to buy amid uncertainty over the "fiscal
cliff" and unrest in the Middle East. Futures had also indicated
gains Wednesday morning, but stocks turned lower midday and
ended down more than 1 percent.
* With Wednesday's decline, both the Dow industrials and the
Nasdaq ended at their lowest levels since late June. The S&P 500
is down 5.1 percent in the six sessions since election night.
Wednesday marked the benchmark index's lowest close since July
* Investors may seek bargains at these levels, and a round
of economic data could prove to be a catalyst, but many analysts
say strong gains may be hard to come by until at least one of
the many global macroeconomic headwinds have been resolved.
* S&P 500 futures rose 4.2 points and were 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 added 20
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 7.75 points.
* Wal-Mart Stores, Dell and Applied
Materials are all scheduled to report quarterly results
* Domestically, investors are looking at the fiscal cliff,
a series of mandated tax hikes and spending cuts will start to
take effect early next year that could push the U.S. economy
into a recession.
* President Obama Wednesday held to his position that
marginal tax rates would have to rise to tackle the nation's
deficits. Taxes on capital gains and dividends could rise as
part of the negotiations, pushing investors to sell this year
and pay lower taxes on their gains.
* Overseas, Israel launched a major offensive against
Palestinian militants in Gaza, killing the military commander of
Hamas in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the
enclave. Egypt said it recalled its ambassador from Israel in
* The market will also watch the latest economic data, with
weekly jobless claims, October consumer prices and a November
read on New York manufacturing all due out at 8:30 a.m. (1330
GMT). The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank releases its
November business activity survey at 10 a.m.
* Claims are seen rising by 20,000 to 375,000 while consumer
prices are seen up 0.1 percent, compared with a 0.6 percent rise
in September, according to a Reuters poll. The Empire State
manufacturing survey is seen coming in at -6.7, compared with
-6.16 in October. The Philly Fed survey is seen dropping to 2
from 5.7 in October.