* Retailers in focus with Black Friday underway
* Greece says IMF relaxes debt-cutting target
* RIM shares surge 14 pct on new product optimism
* Futures up: Dow 10 pts, S&P 2.3 pts, Nasdaq 8.5 pts
NEW YORK, Nov 23 U.S. stock index futures gained
modestly Friday, with the retail sector in focus as the holiday
shopping season begins, on a day of abbreviated day on Wall
Street following the Thanksgiving holiday.
* Greece said the International Monetary Fund had relaxed
its debt-cutting target for the country, suggesting lenders were
closer to a deal for a vital aid tranche to be paid. But other
sources involved in the talks cautioned the funding gap was far
bigger than Greece has suggested.
* Euro zone finance ministers, the IMF and European Central
Bank failed earlier this week to agree on how to get the
country's debt down to a sustainable level and will have a third
try at resolving the issue on Monday.
* Shares of Research in Motion surged more than 14
percent in premarket trading on optimism surrounding the
company's soon-to-be-launched BlackBerry 10 devices that will
vie against Apple's iPhone and Android-based
smartphones. RIM was recently at $11.73.
* The focus will likely be on the retail sector as the
holiday shopping season begins. Investors will look for signs of
how much consumers are spending as stores lure shoppers in with
Black Friday deals and discounts. Black Friday,
the day after Thanksgiving, kicks off the U.S. Christmas
shopping season for retailers and is often the busiest shopping
day of the year.
* S&P 500 futures rose 2.30 points and were above
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 added 10
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 8.50 points.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve's securities portfolio has not
reached a level where it would hold back the central bank from
its bond-buying programs, John Williams, the president of the
San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, told the Wall Street Journal
in an interview.
* The Fed launched its latest stimulus program in September,
saying it would buy $40 billion a month in mortgage-backed
securities until the labor market significantly improved.
* Overseas, German business morale surprised with its first
rise in seven months in November, offering hope that Europe's
largest economy could regain some momentum.