Futures see little change on Wall Street open

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a quiet open for Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones up 0.1 percent, and Nasdaq futures down 0.1 percent at 4:34 a.m. ET.

* Investors are likely to await a slew of economic data due later in the session for further direction, including factory orders and the Institute of Management Supply's (ISM) non manufacturing index, both due at 10 a.m. ET.

* Factory orders are expected to have declined by 0.5 percent in December after rising 0.7 percent in November.

* Weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET will likely be of interest as the data comes ahead of Friday's crucial non-farm payrolls.

* Further corporate results are likely to generate some interest, with the likes of Mastercard , Merck and Viacom due to release earnings.

* U.S. stocks stalled on Wednesday as technical measures suggested a five-month rally was losing momentum.

* The S&P 500 <.SPX> started to look overbought again after reaching 2 1/2-year highs on Tuesday. A key measure of the rally's strength suggests stocks are vulnerable to a correction, analysts said.

* Traders will closely monitor political unrest in Egypt after supporters of President Hosni Mubarak opened fire on protesters in Cairo on Thursday, killing five.

* Brent crude prices were above $103 as investors worried about the prospect of further unrest across the Middle East.

* In company news, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has been notified in a warning letter of weaknesses at its Jerusalem oral solid dosage plant (OSD) after an inspection last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

* Bank of America Corp is close to a deal to sell its Balboa insurance business to Australia's QBE Insurance Group Ltd , Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

* Visa Inc's fell 1 percent in after-hours trade after the firm said quarterly profit rose 16 percent, slightly beating expectations, as consumer spending ramped up and the company processed more transactions abroad.

* On the economic front, a top Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday she did not think the U.S. central bank would have to extend its $600 billion bond-buying program beyond midyear, but economic weakness could force the Fed's hand.

* In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares slipped in early trade, with heavyweight oil major Royal Dutch Shell down after its quarterly net profits fell short of expectations.

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Will Waterman)

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