* Tech shares may rebound after Cisco results
* Fiscal cliff, Europe could drive trading
* Abercrombie, Staples rally after strong results
* Retail sales down in October, hurt by storm
* Futures up: Dow 35 pts, S&P 5.3 pts, Nasdaq 11.25 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures
pointed to a higher open on Wednesday after a series of weak
sessions as strong earnings from technology bellwether Cisco and
two retail chains boosted sentiment.
The S&P 500 has fallen 3.8 percent over the past five
trading days, with most of the losses driven by uncertainty over
the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff" and concerns about Europe's
The index closed below its 200-day moving average for a
fourth day in a row on Tuesday, a technical indicator that
suggests recent declines could gain momentum.
Trading has been volatile, with positive momentum difficult
"It seems as if every minor rally we get, gets sold into, a
trend that has been both consistent and concerning," said
Christian Wagner, chief executive officer at Longview Capital
Management in Wilmington, Delaware. "This could be the new
normal until the fiscal cliff gets resolved, and that will make
for a difficult environment."
Futures showed a muted reaction to a dip in retail sales for
October. Analysts had expected sales to fall due to the storm
that hit the U.S. Northeast. Producer prices
fell 0.2 percent in October, compared with an expectations for a
0.2 percent rise.
Dow component Cisco Systems Inc reported
first-quarter earnings and revenue late Tuesday that beat
expectations, sending the stock soaring 7.3 percent to $18.08 in
premarket trading Wednesday.
Cisco, viewed as a harbinger for spending on information
technology because of its global reach and customers across all
sectors, could lend support to the tech sector.
Technology shares have dropped almost 10 percent
over the past two months, dragged down by earnings
disappointments from Google and others. Tech was the
worst performing sector on Tuesday.
"For Cisco to beat expectations in an environment like this
is great and speaks to the solid management at the company,"
Wagner said. "Hopefully this will do something for the tech
sector, which has been so hurt by Apple lately."
Apple, the most valuable U.S. company, has tumbled
in recent months by 20 percent from its peak.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.3 points and were 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 added 35
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 11.25 points.
In earnings news, Abercrombie & Fitch Co soared 30
percent to $40.82 before the bell after posting a steep rise in
its quarterly profit. Staples Inc rose 4.4 percent to
$11.75 after posting earnings that beat expectations.
Macroeconomic issues will likely play a major role in how
stocks trade as investors grapple with the impact of Europe's
debt crisis and the fiscal cliff, a series of large, mandated
tax hikes and spending cuts that start to take effect next year.
Analysts say serious fiscal negotiations are still weeks
away, but that the failure to reach a deal in Congress could tip
the world's largest economy into recession.
European shares fell 0.4 percent as Greece's
unresolved crisis raised questions about the region's potential
for economic growth, while anti-austerity strikes across
southern Europe added to concerns that fiscal reforms would be
politically difficult to implement.