* Initial claims, consumer confidence data due
* Lenders fail to reach deal for Greece
* Futures: Dow down 2 pt, S&P off 0.1 pt, Nasdaq up 1.75 pt
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Nov 21 U.S. stock index futures
retreated Wednesday after international lenders were unable to
agree on emergency aid for Greece, and ahead of data on the U.S.
labor market and consumer confidence.
For a second week, euro zone finance ministers, the
International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank failed
to agree on how to make Greece's debt sustainable, which is
necessary before the next cash infusion can be made to the
fiscally beleaguered nation.
The FTSEurofirst 300 edged up 0.06 percent at
Investors will also look to weekly initial jobless claims at
8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) for signs of improvement in the labor
market. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a total of 410,000
new filings compared with 439,000 in the prior week, when a
surge in claims was linked to the impact of superstorm Sandy.
At 8:58 a.m. (1358 GMT), information services company Markit
releases U.S. flash Markit Manufacturing PMI for November,
expected to show a reading of 51, unchanged from October.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of
Consumers release the final November consumer sentiment index at
9:55 a.m. (1455 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a
reading of 84.5 compared with 84.9 in the final October report.
"The market has shifted into Thanksgiving mode, while
waiting for more news from Greece - after three positive
sessions coming off the low, the market is looking for the next
driving theme which could be today's economic numbers," said
Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in
The S&P 500 had risen for three straight sessions as
rhetoric from Washington did little to erode investor optimism
of a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff," a series of tax hikes and
spending cuts which will go into effect in the new year and
threaten to derail the nation's fragile economic recovery.
Still, earlier gains on Tuesday were mostly erased as
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cautioned that the central
bank lacked the tools to cushion the U.S. economy from the
impact of the cliff in a worst-case scenario.
"Investors are ignoring the elephant in the room in the form
of the fiscal cliff and much of the recent strength stems from
hopes of a benign resolution; however, until a deal is actually
done, it could come back to haunt at any time," said Bakhos.
Shortly after at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT) the Conference Board
releases its report on October leading economic indicators.
Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.2 percent rise
compared with a 0.6 percent rise in September.
S&P 500 futures shed 0.1 point and were below 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 fell 2
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1.75 points.
Volume is expected to be light ahead of the Thanksgiving Day
holiday on Thursday.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said it was
unlikely to decide, before Thursday's holiday, on Wal-Mart
Stores Inc's push to stop protests and rallies outside
its stores. This was a blow to the company's attempt to avoid
major protests at its stores on "Black Friday," the day after
Thanksgiving and the busiest shopping day of the year.
Deere & Co slipped 1.2 percent to $85 in light
premarket trading, even as the agricultural equipment maker
reported higher fourth-quarter earnings.
Business software provider Salesforce.com Inc beat
Wall Street expectations for the third quarter and maintained
its earnings outlook for the rest of its fiscal year despite the
uncertain economic outlook.
Asian shares fell after the failure to reach a deal on
another bailout for Greece, a day after Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke highlighted the dangers of a U.S. fiscal crisis.