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US stock index futures down after Obama win

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures were down on Wednesday, pointing to a lower open on Wall Street, as investors focused on the difficult immediate tasks facing President-elect Barack Obama.

At 1046 GMT futures for the S&P 500 index SPc1, Dow Jones industrial average DJc1 and Nasdaq 100 NDc1 were down 1.4-1.8 percent. Democrat Obama captured the White House on Tuesday, defeating Republican John McCain to make history as the first black man to be elected U.S. president.

Obama won at least 349 Electoral College votes, far more than the 270 he needed. However, he faces a crush of immediate challenges, from an economic crisis to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and reform of the U.S. healthcare system.

“The market is maybe reflecting the hard work ahead and difficult economic circumstances new president Barack Obama has inherited,” said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“Economic data has been difficult of late, and the market after the election is over is now looking back on that,” added Bowman.

Jim Wood-Smith, head of research at Williams de Broe, said: “We do not know very much what Obama is going to do once he takes office. He favours green or alternative energy and he has certainly been making anti-oil noises and would like to place a windfall tax on the companies. Part of the drag on the U.S. futures could be from the big oil stocks.”

Before the election analysts noted that likely winners would be solar or wind power companies, while likely losers from an Obama win are companies with lucrative contracts supplying U.S. forces in Iraq. [ID:nN05002479]

Turning to earnings news, investors will have results from Cisco CSCO.O, MBIA MBI, Time Warner TWX, Sara Lee SLE and Molson Coors Brewing Co TAP.

The Institute for Supply Management releases its October non-manufacturing index at 1500 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a reading of 47.5 versus 50.2 in September.

Meanwhile, economists in a Reuters poll expect the U.S. ADP Employment report for October due at 1315 GMT to show 100,000 jobs were lost in the month after a loss of 8,000 in September. (Reporting by Joanne Frearson, editing by Will Waterman)