U.S. stock index futures signal lower start

LONDON Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:26am GMT

LONDON Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Tuesday, with futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 down 0.2 percent, and Dow Jones contracts down 0.1 percent at 0905 GMT.

* Japan's Nikkei ended a four-day winning run on Tuesday as investors took profits in exporters, which had rallied on hopes Japan's main opposition party would win next month's election and pressure the central bank for more stimulus steps.

* European shares edged lower early on, with the French CAC 40 a core euro zone laggard after ratings agency Moody's issued a long-awaited downgrade of France's credit rating.

* The U.S. Commerce Department releases housing starts and permits data for October at 1330 GMT, expected to show a pull-back after hefty gains in recent months. But a severe storm in late October could exaggerate the magnitude of the decline.

* The Federal Reserve's Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks before the Economic Club of New York at 1715 GMT, a speech that may offer a fresh chance to gauge the Fed's appetite for more monetary stimulus. Market participants currently expect the Fed to step up asset purchases in 2013 after Operation Twist expires.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co named little-known executive Marianne Lake as its chief financial officer on Monday, making her one of the most powerful women on Wall Street and the top ambassador to investors for the largest U.S. bank.

* The U.S. International Trade Commission will review a judge's decision which found <Apple AAPL.O> did not violate patents owned by Samsung Electronics in making the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.

* Tiger Global Management, a technology focused hedge fund run by Chase Coleman and Feroz Dewan, disclosed a big stake in Groupon Inc on Monday, a vote of confidence for the struggling daily deal website.

* Best Buy reports quarterly results, expected to show a fall in earnings per shares to $0.12 from $0.47, as the world's largest consumer electronics chain struggles to fend off online and discount rivals. Investors are awaiting word on whether founder and top shareholder Richard Schulze comes through with a formal bid to take the company private.

* Hewlett Packard, H.J. Heinz Company and salesforce.com are also among companies due to report results on Tuesday.

* Archstone Inc, the apartment building owner and developer owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, said on Monday it plans to raise up to $3.45 billion in its initial public offering, making it the biggest U.S. commercial real estate IPO ever.

* U.S. stocks rose for a second consecutive session on Monday as investors were encouraged by the early atmosphere surrounding talks to tackle the nation's fiscal crunch.

* President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress hope to start serious negotiations after this week's Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday on how to avoid the "fiscal cliff," which has politicians and economists worried about the direction of the world's largest economy.

* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 207.65 points, or 1.65 percent, on Monday to 12,795.96 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 27.01 points, or 1.99 percent, at 1,386.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 62.94 points, or 2.21 percent, at 2,916.07. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa/editing by Chris Pizzey, London MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)

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