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US stock index futures almost unchanged

stockU.S. stock-index futures were little changed, after equities broke a seven-day rally, as investors awaited data on retail sales and consumer sentiment to feed the prospects for Federal Reserve stimulus cuts.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December declined 0.1% to 1,676.3 at 11:01 a.m. in London. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% yesterday amid concern that the Fed will reduce stimulus and that the U.S. has not ruled out military action against Syria. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 4 points, less than 0.1%, to 15,242 today.

“The key in the U.S. is that nominal GDP is still really sluggish,” Colin McLean, who oversees 600 million pounds as managing director at SVM Asset Management Ltd. in Edinburgh, said for Bloomberg Television. “Although there are signs of recovery, which will continue, we’ll get quite moderate language from the Fed. The taper might be followed by further easing. It certainly looks like it’s not all one way.”

A Commerce Department release at 8:30 a.m. EDT may show retail sales increased 0.5% in August, after gaining 0.2% a month earlier, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

A preliminary report at 9:55 a.m. New York time may show the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan gauge of sentiment was almost unchanged at 82 in September. The final reading for August was for 82.1.

In corporate news, Barrick Gold retreated 1% to $17.43 and Silver Standard fell 0.8 percent to $7.05. Gold and silver prices declined for a second day.

Intel climbed 1.4 percent to $22.94 in early New York trading as Jefferies raised its recommendation on the world’s largest chip maker to buy from hold.

Safeway advanced 1.9 percent to $27.10 as Credit Suisse upgraded the second-largest U.S. supermarket chain to outperform, similar to buy, from underperform.

Among companies that could move, Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. said late Thursday its second-quarter earnings rose to 70 cents a share from 54 cents a share in the same period a year ago. Shares of Ulta gained 14% in after hours.

Analogic Corp. shares also gained in after-hours action on Thursday, rising about 3%, after the medical- and security-imaging company said late adjusted quarterly earnings rose 16% to $1.53 a share.

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