January 8, 2014 / 1:00 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures dip ahead of jobs data, Fed minutes

* 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 (Reuters) - 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 retail activity.

“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 trading.

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