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US STOCKS-Futures decline on Greek angst, data eyed

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Sun, Aug 26, 2012 05:43 hrs

* Autodesk shares tumble after results disappoint

* Durable goods data on tap

* Futures off: Dow 14 pt, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 5 pts

NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures dipped on Friday after Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany, as well as France, want Greece to stay in the euro zone but that Athens must meet its commitments.

The S&P 500 could test support at 1,400 again, after hitting a session low of 1,400.5 on Thursday on its way to posting its largest decline in a month. The index hasn't closed below 1,400 since the first Monday of August and is on track for its first weekly decline in seven.

The U.S. Commerce Department releases July durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey, on average, expect a 2.4 percent rise in orders versus 1.3 percent in June.

Uncertainty over how euro zone policymakers will attempt to make Spain's borrowing costs affordable, and renewed worries over Greece, kept traders away from risky assets. Merkel said talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras were a good start but there was still much to do.

"If you are a bull and want central banks to absorb debt issues you want to hear (Merkel) sound acquiescing," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. "That's not where she was starting the conversation from."

Forrest said Europe is flaring up again and the time is now to see if the euro zone will stand behind European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's commitment to do whatever it takes to save the euro.

S&P 500 futures fell 3 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were off 14 point and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 5 points.

Supervalu shares jumped 8.5 percent in light premarket trading as its advisers sought potential buyers to bid for the entire business, even as several suitors have inquired about individual parts of the U.S. grocery company, according to a Bloomberg report.

Autodesk shares were downgraded by various brokerages a day after the design software maker's quarterly results fell short of expectations for the first time in nearly two years. Shares tumbled 22.3 percent in thin premarket trading.

Salesforce.com shares fell 3.9 percent premarket a day after third-quarter earnings outlook missed analysts' estimates.




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