- UK watchdog says Lloyds must raise 8.6 billion pounds capital
- Rugby-Penpix of the British and Irish Lions team for first test
- U.S. stimulus fears, China slowdown sparks FTSE sell-off
- Government says soldier deaths' court ruling will hit combat missions
- Dotcom decries 'largest data massacre' after company deletes files
U.S. stock index futures signal steady open
PARIS Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a steady open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.04 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.05 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.02 percent at 0941 GMT.
* European shares rose early on Thursday in their first trading session following the Christmas break, with investors focusing on Washington's last-ditch efforts to avoid a damaging bout of fiscal tightening next year.
* Efforts to prevent the U.S. economy from going over its 'fiscal cliff' resumed on Wednesday with less than a week to go before the potentially disastrous tax hikes and spending cuts kick in.
* In a sign that there may be a way through the deadlock in Congress, Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner offered to at consider any bill the Democrat-controlled Senate produced. President Barack Obama will try to revive budget crisis talks when he returns to Washington on Thursday after cutting short his Christmas break.
* U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday, dragged lower by retail stocks after a report showed consumers spent less in the holiday shopping season than last year.
* The 2012 holiday season may have been the worst for retailers since the 2008 financial crisis, with sales growth far below expectations, forcing many to offer massive post-Christmas discounts in hopes of shedding excess inventory.
* The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 24.49 points, or 0.19 percent, to 13,114.59 at Wednesday's close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 6.83 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1,419.83. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 22.44 points, or 0.74 percent, to 2,990.16.
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