US futures little changed with data on tap

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WallStreet1234 Reuters. A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

New York - US stock index futures were little changed on Friday, with the S&P 500 on track for its first two-week winning streak of the year, ahead of data on consumer confidence.

* US stocks closed higher Thursday, with the Nasdaq notching its sixth straight advance, as investors overlooked disappointing retail sales data as a result of the harsh winter weather.

* Data on import/export prices is expected at 8:30 a.m. EST (15:30 SA time), while industrial output data is due at 9:15 a.m. (16:15 SA time).

Import prices are expected to decline 0.1 percent and export prices are forecast to remain unchanged.

Expectations for industrial output are for a rise of 0.3 percent.

* Investors will eye the preliminary February Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers at 9:55 a.m. (16:55 SA time).

Expectations are for a reading of 80.6 against the 81.2 reading in the prior month.

* The euro zone economy grew more than expected in the last quarter of 2013 thanks to stronger expansion in its biggest countries France and Germany, the first estimate from the European Union's Statistics Office showed.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 1.5 points and were roughly even with 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 13 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6 points.

* Men's clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc said it would buy outdoor wear specialist Eddie Bauer for $825 million from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, spurning any merger considerations with rival Men's Wearhouse Inc. Jos. A. Bank shares lost 3 percent to $53.30 in premarket trading while Men's Wearhouse slumped 8.7 percent to $42.50.

* Insurer American International Group on Thursday raised its dividend and announced more share buybacks as its fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations. Its shares slipped 1.1 percent to $49.04 in premarket trade.

* Weight Watchers International Inc plunged 21.5 percent to $24 before the opening bell after it forecast a full-year adjusted profit far slimmer than estimates.

* Cliffs Natural Resources rose 8.9 percent to $23.85 in premarket after it reported a much better-than-expected earnings helped by a drop in costs and higher iron ore prices.

* Of the 382 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings through Thursday morning, 67.5 percent beat profit expectations, above the 63 percent average since 1994 and slightly above the 67 percent rate for the past four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* European stocks advanced, on track for their seventh rise in eight sessions, as firmer economic growth in Germany and France fueled expectations of a rebound in corporate profits in Europe this year.

* Asian shares mostly rose after downbeat US economic data pushed the dollar to a nearly three-week low against the euro. - Reuters

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