US STOCKS-Futures little changed as Fed meeting to begin

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 | 8:03 AM ET

* Comcast mulls scenarios for possible Time Warner deal

* Consumer prices data due

* KKR to pay for its KFN unit with stock

* Futures: Dow up 20 pts, S&P up 1 pt, Nasdaq up 3 pts

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Tuesday ahead of consumer price data and as the Federal Reserve prepared to begin its last policy-setting meeting of the year.

* Although many in the market expect the Fed to begin to wind down its market-friendly $85 billion a month in asset purchases in March, some are betting on an earlier pullback due to a string of better-than-expected economic data.

* The Fed has said its current policy is data-dependant, and some market participants believe the U.S. central bank will upgrade its estimates for economic activity after a two-day meeting that is set to begin later on Tuesday.

* The U.S. Labor Department releases its November Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect CPI to rise 0.1 percent compared with a 0.1 percent drop in October. Excluding food and energy items, CPI is forecast to rise 0.1 percent, a repeat of the October increase. Real earnings for November are also due.

* S&P 500 futures rose 1 point 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 rose 20 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3 points.

* KKR & Co said it would acquire its specialty finance company KKR Financial Holdings in a $2.6 billion deal, paid for with KKR shares trading at an all-time high. KFN shares rose 27 percent in premarket trading while KKR slipped 2.9 percent.

* Facebook shares rose 1.8 percent in premarket trading after the Wall Street Journal reported the social network will begin selling video ads later this week.

* Comcast Corp is examining three scenarios for a potential deal with Time Warner Cable Inc, including a full takeover bid for the second-largest cable operator, people close to the situation said on Monday.

* Boeing's board raised the company dividend about 50 percent on Monday and approved $10 billion in new share buyback authority that the company said it would use in the next two to three years.

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