PARIS Dec 27 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
* 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
* 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.