U.S. stock index futures point to flat start

LONDON Fri Jan 4, 2013 8:58am GMT

LONDON Jan 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Wall Street on Friday, with S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent and contracts for the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 down 0.1 percent at 0840 GMT.

* European shares fell in early trade on Friday as concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may end its asset-buying programme ahead of time curbed appetite for shares in the run up to key U.S. jobs data.

* U.S. non-farm payrolls, due at 1330 GMT, are seen rising 150,000 in December, after a 146,000 increase in the previous month, with the unemployment rate seen unchanged month-on-month at 7.7 percent.

* The Fed said last month it would keep interest rates near zero until unemployment fell to at least 6.5 percent, and as long as inflation does not rise above 2.5 percent.

* Drug maker Eli Lilly is expected to provide sales and earnings guidance for this year, when its $5 billion-a-year Cymbalta antidepressant will start to face cheaper generics. But Wall Street expects company earnings to rise about 10 percent in 2013 because of sales growth from other drugs.

* Walgreen reports December same-store sales, one day after several major U.S. retailers beat expectations of modest sales increases in December as shoppers wrapped up holiday buying.

* Mosaic is expected to post a sharp decline in quarterly profit from the same period one year ago. Analysts will be looking for an update on the fertilizer producer's supply contracts with China and India, after Mosaic cut its outlook in November for phosphate and potash sales, citing uncertainty.

* New York State's $150-billion public pension fund has sued Qualcomm, seeking to force the chipmaker to reveal its political spending, according to the state comptroller.

* Japan's Nikkei share average climbed to a 22-month high on its first trading day of 2013 on Friday, as a deal in Washington to avert the "fiscal cliff" buoyed investor risk appetite and the weaker yen lifted exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp .

* The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 21.19 points, or 0.16 percent, to 13,391.36 on Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 3.05 points, or 0.21 percent, to 1,459.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 11.70 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,100.57.

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