* Research in Motion falls after downgrade
* PPI, Empire State data on tap
* France enters shallow recession
* Futures: Dow up 8 pts, S&P off 0.2 pt, Nasdaq up 1 pt
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, May 15 U.S. stock index futures were
little changed on Wednesday, indicating the S&P 500 may hold
near its most recent record high, ahead of data on inflation and
* Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500
rallied to a fresh record high on Tuesday, buoyed by gains in
large-cap shares on investor expectations central bank stimulus
measures will continue to support further gains.
* The S&P 500 is up 15.7 percent for the year while
the Dow has jumped 16.1 percent.
* Economic data expected at 8:30 a.m. includes the producer
price index for April. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a
0.6 percent drop, a repeat of the drop in March. Excluding
volatile food and energy items, PPI is expected to rise 0.1
percent versus with a 0.2 percent increase in March.
* Also at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) the New York Federal Reserve
releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for May.
Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 4.00 compared
with 3.05 in April.
* S&P 500 futures slipped 0.2 point and were roughly
even with 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 rose 8
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1 point.
* At 9:15 a.m. the Federal Reserve releases industrial
production and capacity utilization data for April. Forecasts
call for a 0.2 percent drop in production and a reading of 78.3
percent for capacity utilization.
* Investors will also eye housing data at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT)
for any signs of continued improvement with the release of the
National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo issues May
housing market index. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a
reading of 43 versus 42 in April.
* An improving housing market has been seen as a tailwind to
the economic recovery.
* U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion shed 3.1
percent to $14.78 in premarket trade after Bernstein cut its
rating on the Blackberry maker to "market perform."
* European shares were mixed, taking a breather from a sharp
rally started in mid-April, with lower-than-expected growth data
for Germany and France denting investor appetite.
* Data showed Germany's economy grew just 0.1 percent in the
first quarter, while France entered a shallow recession,
contracting by 0.2 percent, more than economists had expected.
* Japan's Nikkei share average surged to a 5-1/2-year high
as Japanese exporters rallied after the yen's recent slide.