December 14, 2010 / 12:46 PM / 9 years ago

Futures flat ahead of Fed, retail data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures were little changed on Tuesday as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s assessment of the economy.

* The Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged and evaluate its recent massive bond-buying program to support the economy. The announcement is due at about 2:15 p.m. EST.

* Also, Fed officials will likely revise their economic outlook to reflect stronger growth after the White House and congressional Republicans agreed to extend tax breaks and provide a payroll tax cut, effectively delivering fresh stimulus.

* Economic indicators on tap include November producer prices and November retail sales at 8:30 a.m. EST. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.2 percent gain in core U.S. producer prices, and a 0.6 percent increase in retail sales.

* The dollar hovered near a December low against the euro, although the single currency could struggle to extend its gains after its jump on Monday triggered a wave of stop-loss buying and forced traders to lighten their euro short/dollar long positions ahead of the Fed meeting.

* S&P 500 futures rose 2.8 points and were slightly 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 slipped 3 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 4.25 points.

* The European Central Bank is considering requesting an increase its capital to help cope with the rising costs of fighting the debt crisis, sources told Reuters.

* HCP Inc HCP.N, a healthcare real estate investment trust, will buy most of the real estate assets of privately held nursing and assisted living firm HCR ManorCare Inc from Carlyle Group CYL.UL. The stock was down 0.8 percent at $32.25 in premarket trade.

* Yahoo Inc YHOO.O plans to lay off more than 600 employees, sources said.

* Drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) named board member George Lorch as nonexecutive chairman, a week after its chairman and chief executive abruptly departed.

* Best Buy Co (BBY.N) is the only S&P 500 company scheduled to report quarterly results on Tuesday.

* The Nasdaq ended eight straight winning sessions on Monday as large-cap technology stocks slid in a late-day selloff.

Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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