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Futures Mixed on Last Trading Day of the Year

Futures were little changed on the last session of the year on Friday, with no notable economic data or earnings reports on tap.

Stocks rallied on Thursday, moving the S&P 500 back into positive territory for 2011 ahead of the last trading day of the year, on more positive signals on the U.S. economy. However, many investors are likely to stay on the sidelines as they wait until the New Year to start making large bets.

European stocks inched higher in thin trade, with a number of euro zone indexes set to post 2011 losses of about 20 percent, hammered by the region's debt crisis.

On Thursday, Italy sold just over 7 billion euros ($9 billion) in an auction of longer-term debt, with yields falling, but failed to reassure markets.

Europe will continue to be the focus of investors' attention in the New Year, with elections possibly changing the political landscapeon the continent in 2012.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's balance sheet grew in the last week with a rise in central bank liquidity swaps, even though holdings of Treasurys and agency debt declined, Fed data showed on Thursday.

The SEC got a fresh dressing-down from the judge who rejected its $285 million settlement with Citigroup, as he said the regulator kept him out of the loop on its efforts to salvage the case.

German company Deutsche Telekomsettled a SEC probe into bribery accusations involving contracts in Macedonia and Montenegro. The company denied the allegations of bribery.

Google edged slightly higher after Baird raised its price target on the search-engine giant to $760 from $700.

Searsidentified 79 of the 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores it said earlier this week it would close, with the list split almost evenly between the two chains.

Standard & Poor's placed Sears' credit rating on review for a possible downgrade, saying the retailer's plan to close at least 100 stores may not do much to improve its performance.

—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: twitter.com/JeeYeonParkCNBC

Coming Up Next Week:

MONDAY: New Year's Day observed—All markets closed
TUESDAY: ISM mfg index, construction spending, FOMC minutes
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, Challenger job-cut report, factory orders, auto sales; Earnings from Mosaic
THURSDAY: ADP employment report, jobless claims, ISM non-mfg index, oil inventories, chain-store sales; Earnings from Monsanto
FRIDAY: Non-farm payrolls

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