Stock futures pointed to a flat to weaker start for Wall Street on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite futures down 0.3 percent after Cisco System offered to buy Norwegian Tandberg for $3 billion in cash.

The futures for S&P 500 futures and Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> were flat by 4:19 a.m. EDT.

U.S. network equipment maker Cisco is to buy Norwegian video-conferencing equipment maker Tandberg ASA for an agreed 17.2 billion Norwegian crowns ($3.0 billion) in cash.

Cisco shares in Frankfurt fell 0.8 percent, while Tandberg shares soared more than 11 percent.

Comcast Corp , the largest U.S. cable service provider, denied a Web report on Wednesday that it had struck a deal to buy media conglomerate NBC Universal for $35 billion. But Comcast stopped short of quashing widespread speculation that it was interested in NBC Universal, which is owned by General Electric and Vivendi.

Comcast shares in Frankfurt were down 2.6 percent.

The U.S. economy is mending more quickly than anticipated, although high unemployment and growing commercial property defaults will put a drag on the recovery, the International Monetary Fund said.

A raft of data, including ISM manufacturing, pending home sales, personal income and consumption, and weekly jobless claims, would give further evidence of the strength of the recovery in the United States, ahead of Friday's non-farm payrolls.

Economists in a Reuters survey expected an ISM reading of 54.0 versus 52.9 in August, while pending home sales are expected to rise 1 percent compared with a 3.2 percent increase in the previous month.

A total of 530,000 new filings for jobless claims -- a repeat of the previous week's figure -- are forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.

Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis announced he was retiring, after months of being dogged by a series of government investigations into the company's acquisition of Merrill Lynch last year that had become a major distraction for the biggest U.S. bank.

Citigroup completed the sale of its Japanese brokerage Nikko Cordial Securities to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Corp <8316.T>, one more step in the U.S. bank's plan to shed non-core assets.

JPMorgan Chase's investment bank is planning a push to win more business outside the United States by building on the group's financial ties with overseas companies, its head Jes Staley told the Financial Times.

A broad-based oversight council of financial regulators, not just the Federal Reserve, should be set up to monitor systemic risk to the economy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in text of remarks to be delivered to Congress on Thursday.

ViaSat Inc , which provides satellite and other wireless networking systems, has agreed to buy Wild Blue Communications Inc for more than $565 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The semiconductor sector has passed the worst of the slump but it will take years to return to sales levels reached before the financial crisis, Infineon's Chief Financial Officer Marco Schroeter told the Wall Street Journal.

Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings Corp priced shares in its initial public offering for $19 each, within the expected range, but increased the size of the share issue in the largest IPO by a biopharmaceuticals firm in three years.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 29.92 points, or 0.31 percent, to 9,712.28. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 3.53 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,057.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shed 1.62 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,122.42.

(Reporting by Dominic Lau; Editing by Mike Nesbit)