* Netflix blames Amazon for outage
* Obama heads back to Washington after vacation
* Futures up: Dow 20 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 6.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 26 U.S. stock index futures edged
higher on Wednesday, indicating the S&P 500 may halt its worst
two-day drop in since mid-November, ahead of the resumption of
"fiscal cliff" negotiations.
* President Barack Obama is cutting short his Hawaiian
holiday to leave for Washington on Wednesday to address the
unfinished negotiations with Congress.
* Obama is due to arrive in Washington on Thursday to resume
talks on the cliff, a sharp rise in taxes and deep spending cuts
due to begin on Jan. 1 that could tip the U.S. economy into
* A Republican plan that failed to gain traction last week
triggered the recent decline in the S&P 500, highlighting
market sensitivity to headlines centered around the talks.
* Investors will also look to housing data for signs of
improvement in the economy, with the S&P Case/Shiller Home Price
Index for October expected at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT).
* Housing data has shown modest improvement in recent
months, and continued strength could help support the sagging
* S&P 500 futures rose 2 points and were slightly
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 gained
20 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 6.75 points.
* China's Sinopec Group and ConocoPhillips
will research potentially vast reserves of shale gas in
southwestern China over the next two years, state news agency
* An outage at one of Amazon.com Inc's web service
centers hit users of Netflix Inc's streaming video
service on Christmas Eve and was not fully resolved until
Christmas Day, a spokesman for the movie rental company said on
* Asian shares were capped in thin holiday trade, with
investors focusing on the fate of U.S. negotiations to avert a
budget crunch looming at the end of the year.