* Payrolls data on tap
* J.C. Penney gets letter of inquiry from SEC
* Sears Holdings to spin off Lands' End business
* Futures up: Dow 51 pts, S&P 6.7 pts, Nasdaq 10.5 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 6 U.S. stock index futures
advanced on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track to halt a
five-session losing streak, ahead of a key monthly payrolls
report that may influence expectations for when the Federal
Reserve will begin to wind down its stimulus.
The S&P 500 has dropped 1.2 percent over the past five
sessions, the longest losing streak for the benchmark index
since late September. A gain of nearly seven percent over the
prior eight weeks had increased expectations the Fed may
accelerate the timetable to trim its $85 billion in monthly bond
purchases encouraged profit taking.
Many market participants expect the Fed to announce a cut in
March. The Fed has said it would slow its stimulus program when
certain economic measures meet its targets, including a decline
in the U.S. unemployment rate.
"You have that many days down, it's not surprising you will
get a bit of a snapback that would be expected today," said
Keith Bliss, senior vice president at Cuttone & Co in New York.
"Given the timing of this report and the bets that are being
placed on the December versus January versus March (Fed)
meeting, it has taken on a great deal of importance for a lot of
The November employment report is due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330
GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast 180,000 jobs were
created in November compared with 204,000 jobs in October. The
unemployment rate is seen at 7.2 percent versus a 7.3 rate in
Also due at 8:30 a.m. is personal income and spending data
for October. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.3 percent
rise in income and a 0.2 percent increase in spending.
Later in the session at 9:55 a.m. (1455 GMT), investors will
eye the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of
Consumers release December preliminary consumer sentiment index.
Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 76.0 compared
with 75.1 in the final November report.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.7 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 gained 51
points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 10.5 points.
J.C. Penney Co Inc fell 3.8 percent to $8.51 in
premarket trade after the department store chain said it
received a letter of inquiry from the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, seeking an explanation on the company's
Struggling U.S. retailer Sears Holdings Corp, led
by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, said it would spin off its
Lands' End clothing business.
A rally in Swiss food firm Nestle helped European
stocks snap their longest losing streak in six months on Friday,
although the market's rise was capped by caution ahead of the
release of key U.S. jobs data later in the day. Asian shares
were little changed.