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Stock Futures Pare Gains After Weaker Economic Reports

CNBC.com and Reuters
Friday, 23 Dec 2011 | 9:03 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures pared gains Friday after mixed data on U.S. durable goods orders and consumer spending.

S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were 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 gained 45 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8.75 points.

U.S. November durable goods orders rose 3.8 percent, more than the 2.0 percent forecast and above October's flat reading.

U.S. consumer spending rose less than expected in November as tepid income growth put a squeeze on households, according to a government report that suggested slowing momentum in demand.

Investors also will be watching for developments in Congress. In a dramatic reversal that appeared to end a standoff with Democrats, House Speaker John Boehner told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid he would set a vote in the House on a two-month extension of the tax cut, which has already been passed by the Senate, and jobless benefits – key supports for a fitful U.S. economic recovery.

Rambus shares are trading higher before the opening bell after the company signed a cross licensing agreement with Broadcom, ending patent litigation between the two.

Eastman Kodak share received a boost from news of executive changes and the sale of a unit that makes gelatin used in photographic and printing processes.

Meanwhile, Best Buy shares were lower after it told customers it will not be able to fill some online orders for Christmas due to overwhelming demand. It did not specify which products were involved nor how many customers were affected..

Mead Johnson Nutrition shares were indicated lower. The stock fell 10 percent Thursday on news Wal-Mart Stores had pulled Mead Johnson's infant formula from its shelves following the death of a Missouri infant. The company now says it's cooperating with authorities in their investigation but is very confident in the safety of its products.

Trading is expected to be thin, on the last session before Christmas. The New York Stock Exchange will be open normal hours, but the bond market will close early, at 2 p.m. New York time.

More economic data due out on Friday comes in the form of new home sales, which are expected to tick up to 313,000, from 307,000 the month before, when they are released at 10:00 a.m. in New York. This would continue the good news on the housing front, coming after sales of existing homes rose 4 percent in November.

There are no major U.S. companies reporting earnings.

European shares were higher in thin morning trade with banks extending recent gains. The London Stock Exchange closes early at 12:30 p.m. London time. However, the remaining major European indices at open as usual.

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BBBY
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KODK
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MJN
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RMBS
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WMT
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