* Retail sales rise less than expected in May
* Weak data not seen as derailing recent rally
* Lululemon falls on results, Restoration Hardware up
* Indexes up: Dow 7 pts, S&P 0.9 pt, Nasdaq 2.25 pts
(Adds economic data, updates prices)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, June 12 U.S. stock index futures
pointed to a flat open on Thursday as a round of disappointing
data gave investors few reasons to buy, even after the S&P 500's
biggest one-day drop in three weeks.
* Data on both retail sales and jobless claims were below
expectations, though neither read was seen as so weak as to
derail the thesis that economic conditions are improving.
* Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in May, half of the growth
rate that had been expected, while the number of Americans
filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose
* Futures had been slightly higher prior to the data, but
turned slightly lower after. Still, the market's recent uptrend
is still viewed as intact. Despite a two-day drop in the S&P
500, the benchmark index is less than 0.4 percent below its
* S&P 500 futures fell 0.9 point and were about 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 fell 7
points and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 2.25 points.
* The market has been marked by low volume and volatility
lately, with indexes trading in a tight range and the CBOE
Volatility Index well below its historical average of 20.
* Energy stocks will be in focus as U.S. crude futures
rose 1.8 percent, hitting their highest since September
on worries that escalating violence in Iraq could disrupt oil
supplies from the major OPEC exporter. The Energy Select Sector
SPDR ETF rose 0.4 percent to $97.60 before the bell.
* In company news, Geron Corp was one of the
Nasdaq's most active premarket movers, jumping 33 percent to
$3.45 on heavy volume after the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration lifted a partial clinical hold on a study testing
its blood cancer drug.
* Lululemon Athletica Inc fell 16 percent to $37.10
in premarket trading on heavy volume after the athletic apparel
retailer cut its full-year earnings and revenue outlook.
* On the upside, Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc
surged almost 16 percent to $82.52 a day after the company
reported its first-quarter results.
* Investors will continue to watch chipmakers a day after
the PHLX semiconductor index closed out its 15th straight
daily advance, the longest stretch of gains since the index was
created about 20 years ago. It is up 7.8 percent during the
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)