* Obama, Biden, leading legislators to meet at 3 p.m.
* Chicago PMI, pending home sales data on tap
* Futures down: Dow 40 pts, S&P 4.9 pts, Nasdaq 11 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 28 U.S. stock index futures fell
on Friday, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on track for a
fifth straight decline as legislators prepared to resume talks
to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
* President Barack Obama and lawmakers are launching a last
round of talks before a New Year's cliff deadline, when a series
of tax hikes and spending cuts that could send the economy into
a recession are set to begin.
* U.S. stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Thursday
but managed to to recover most of their earlier losses after the
House of Representatives, in the barest sign of progress, said
it would return to Washington on Sunday night to work on
avoiding the cliff.
* Highlighting market sensitivity to cliff headlines, on
Thursday stocks fell more than 1 percent earlier after Senate
Majority Harry Reid warned a deal was unlikely before the
* S&P 500 futures fell 4.9 points 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 lost 40
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 11 points.
* Economic data expected on Friday includes Chicago PMI for
December at 9:45 a.m. (1445 GMT) while the National Association
of Realtors issues Pending Home Sales for November at 10 a.m.
(1500 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a reading of
51 for the main PMI index and a 1 percent rise in pending home
* European shares edged lower as investors waited to see if
a deal to avoid the U.S. "fiscal cliff" would be reached before
further boosting their exposure to equities.
* The yen fell to its lowest level in more than two years,
lifting Japanese stocks to 21-month highs on expectations of
drastic monetary easing, while shares in the rest of Asia rose
as Washington races to avoid a fiscal crisis.