* Global markets bruised by stimulus worries
* Retail sales surprisingly strong, jobless claims fall
* Gannett jumps on news it will buy Belo
* Futures up: Dow 9 pts, S&P 3.3 pts, Nasdaq 5.75 pts
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, June 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open
little changed as encouraging economic data offset concerns over
the eventual winding down of central bank stimulus that has
propelled a rally in the U.S. equity market this year.
The softness in futures followed a slump in stocks globally.
Investors are trying to gauge when central banks around the
world - and particularly the Federal Reserve - will pull back on
their accommodative monetary policy.
But economic data at home provided support and helped
futures trim declines after retail sales rose more than expected
in May, while a drop in jobless claims last week pointed to a
labor market that is healing.
Merger and acquisition activity buoyed investor optimism as
Gannett jumped after saying it will buy Belo for
$1.5 billion. Gannett was up 23.7 percent at $24.55, while Belo
climbed 27.2 percent to $13.65.
Comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last month stoked
worries that the central bank could slow its $85 billion a month
bond purchase program sooner than expected. Investors were
looking to the Fed's policy-setting committee meeting next week
for clarity on how soon the Fed will end its stimulus measures.
Nervousness over the withdrawal of economic support was
exacerbated earlier this week when the Bank of Japan held its
monetary policy steady, and investors have been unwinding some
of the trades built around central bank support. The benchmark
S&P 500 has advanced 13 percent so far this year.
"The easy money helped us on the way up. The concern is
mounting it's going to end," said Andre Bakhos, director of
market analytics at Lek Securities in New York.
"The action has been choppy and erratic," said Bakhos. "It's
a case of investors looking to limit exposure ahead of next
week's Fed meeting."
S&P 500 futures trimmed earlier losses to gain 3.3
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 9 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures
rose 5.75 points.
Still, the World Bank cut its outlook for global growth amid
a deeper-than-expected recession in Europe and slowdown in some
emerging markets. The bank forecast the world's gross domestic
product will grow 2.2 percent this year, down from its previous
forecast of 2.4 percent growth and slightly below last year's
growth of 2.3 percent.
Safeway shares surged more than 20 percent after
Empire said it would buy Safeway's assets in Canada
for $5.7 billion. Safeway was up 20.5 percent at $27.85 in
Clearwire Corp's board urged shareholders to accept
a tender offer from Dish Network Corp over an earlier
deal with majority owner Sprint Nextel Corp to buy out the
minority shareholders of the wireless service provider.
Apple Inc is exploring launching iPhones with
bigger screens, as well as cheaper models in a range of colors,
over the next year, sources said.