Stock index futures fell on Wednesday, taking a cue from a decline in global markets, as investors found little reason to propel stocks higher as the market's solid year draws to a close.
Airline stocks could see interest after Japan Airlines Corp <9205.T> tumbled as much as 32 percent to a record low on growing expectations the struggling carrier will be restructured in bankruptcy court. American Airlines
Semiconductor shares could see action after Kaufman Bros upgraded Marvell Technology Group Ltd
Action is expected to be muted through the shortened week, with investors cooling their heels after a nearly 25 percent run-up for the S&P 500 this year.
There are some people that have made some money this year that have made some good bets, and at the end of the year they're going to take profits, said Tommy Williams, president of Williams Financial Advisors in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Trading is going to be so light as we're winding the year down.
S&P 500 futures fell 4.5 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 50 points, and the Nasdaq 100 futures gave up 7.75 points.
Overseas, European shares slipped in thin trading Wednesday, while Tokyo's Nikkei <.N225> dropped nearly 1 percent in its last trading session of the year. The Nikkei booked a 19 percent gain for 2009, and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> was on track for a 26 percent advance for the year.
On the data front, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's business barometer for the U.S. Midwest will be released at 9:45 a.m. EST. Economists expect a December reading of 55 compared to 56.1 the month before, according to Reuters data.
Shares in financial institutions could be in the spotlight after the Wall Street Journal reported that GMAC Financial Services is close to getting about $3.5 billion in additional government aid on top of the $12.5 billion it has received since December 2008.
U.S. stocks broke a six-day winning streak on Tuesday, closing slightly lower on low volume.