* Micron shares jump after strong earnings
* Forest Labs to buy Aptalis, shares rise
* Futures: Dow off 15 pts, S&P down 1.5 pts, Nasdaq flat
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Jan 8 U.S. stock index futures slipped
on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 posted its largest gain in
three weeks and ahead of jobs data from the private sector.
The ADP private jobs report is due at 8:15 a.m. EST (1315
GMT) and traders will peruse it for clues on the economy's
strength ahead of a wider-reaching government report Friday.
"The ADP data will give us a keyhole peak on what Friday
will bring for the market," said Andre Bakhos, managing director
at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
Minutes of the Federal Reserve's December meeting, at which
the U.S. central bank announced its decision to trim its
stimulative monthly bond purchases, are out later on Wednesday.
Market participants will scan it for signs of a clear Fed
commitment to keeping rates low for a long time.
S&P 500 futures fell 1.5 points and were below 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 fell 15
points and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.
Micron Technology shares jumped 10 percent in
premarket trading a day after it reported a much
higher-than-expected quarterly profit.
Microsoft is closer to naming a new chief
executive, according to a source familiar with the board's
thinking, but it lost a front-runner candidate Tuesday when
Ford's chief, Alan Mulally, said he would not be going to
the software giant. Microsoft shares edged 0.7 percent lower in
trading before the opening bell.
A deadly blast of Arctic air shattered decades-old
temperature records as it enveloped the eastern United States on
Tuesday, snarling air, road and rail travel, driving energy
prices higher and overwhelming shelters for homeless people.
Economic activity is also expected to be hurt by its impact on
"Coming off the Christmas season you have a lot of sales but
the weather hasn't collaborated," Bakhos said.
Forest Laboratories agreed to buy privately held
specialty pharmaceutical company Aptalis Holdings Inc for about
$2.9 billion. Forest Labs shares rose 10.6 percent in premarket