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US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open after worst decline in a month

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Thu, Dec 12, 2013 14:31 hrs

* Retail sales up in Nov, jobless claims surge last week

* Lululemon slumps; forecasts flat Q4 same-store sales

* Facebook to join S&P 500

* Futures mixed: Dow off 20 pts, S&P up 2.5 pts, Nasdaq up 9 pts

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 was poised to open higher Thursday after posting its biggest decline in over a month a day earlier, as the market digested mixed data that showed a rise in weekly jobless claims and stronger-than-expected retail sales for November.

U.S. stock index futures initially held losses following the release of data earlier Thursday, but S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures then rebounded to turn positive in a delayed market reaction.

While a rise in retail sales for November added to signs of a strengthening economy that could draw the U.S. Federal Reserve closer to reducing the pace of its monetary stimulus, a labor market report showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week, reversing the prior three weeks of declines.

"Economic data has to be consistently stronger than what we see now for the Fed to move. We get some good and some bad and it's a mixed picture," said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Management.

Concerns of an earlier-than-expected tapering of the Fed's stimulus program has been weighing on the market for days, pressuring major U.S. stock indexes to their biggest drop in a month on Wednesday as traders took profit after a provisional budget deal was agreed in Washington.

The central bank's massive bond-buying program has helped prop up the equity market for much of the year.

S&P 500 futures added 2.5 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 fell 20 points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 9 points.

Shares of Facebook Inc got a boost after Standard & Poor's said late Wednesday the social media giant will join its S&P 500 benchmark index after the close of trading on Dec. 20. The stock rose nearly 4 percent in premarket trading.

Lululemon Athletica Inc shares fell about 8 percent in premarket trading after the company said it expects flat same-store sales in the crucial fourth quarter.

Hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Inc raised $2.34 billion in its IPO on Wednesday, returning to the public markets some six years after Blackstone Group LP took it private in one of the largest deals of the leveraged buyout boom.

Global equity markets were weighed by worries over an earlier-than-expected pullback of Fed stimulus. European shares slipped to a two-month low on Thursday.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd lost its bid to ban sales of Apple Inc's older iPhone and iPad in South Korea after a court dismissed a lawsuit claiming the U.S. firm had infringed on three of Samsung's mobile patents.




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