PARIS, Dec 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed
to a lower open for the shortened pre-holiday session on Wall
Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.6
percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.42 percent and Nasdaq
100 futures down 0.43 percent at 0917 GMT.
* European shares were broadly steady, consolidating their
sharp gains of the past five weeks, with volumes set to be thin
for the traditionally quiet half-session ahead of the Christmas
* A number of European markets such as the French, Dutch,
Spanish and UK ones were only trading for half the session,
while markets in Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece, Denmark,
Norway, Sweden and Switzerland were closed.
* Talks between Democrats and Republicans to avoid a round
of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that could drag the
world's biggest economy back into recession remain stalled, with
U.S. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner out
of Washington for the Christmas holidays.
* Congress was to return to Washington next Thursday while
Obama takes a brief Christmas break in Hawaii.
* A 'stop-gap' that puts the fiscal problems off for a while
but resolves none of them may now be the most promising
alternative in the U.S. budget talks.
* U.S. retailers might not have seen a sales surge this
weekend as ho-hum discounts and economic fears give Americans
fewer reasons to open their wallets. The acrimonious budget
debate in Washington is one of a number of concerns weighing on
shoppers, experts said.
* Wells Fargo & Co will pay up to $2.5 million in
attorneys' fees and implement certain corporate governance
changes under a proposed settlement of lawsuits brought by
shareholders on behalf of the company, according to a securities
filing by Wells on Friday.
* Google Inc is working with recently acquired
Motorola on a handset code-named "X-phone", aimed at grabbing
market share from Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co
Ltd, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people
familiar with the matter.
* U.S. stocks finished lower on Friday after a Republican
plan to avoid the fiscal cliff failed to gain sufficient support
on Thursday night, draining hopes that a deal would be reached
* The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 120.88
points, or 0.91 percent, to 13,190.84 at the close. The Standard
& Poor's 500 Index fell 13.54 points, or 0.94 percent, to
1,430.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 29.38 points,
or 0.96 percent, to 3,021.01.