US stock-index futures little changed after week of gains

U.S. stock-index futures are little changed, after companies posted the longest streak of weekly gains since February, as investors focused on earnings reports this week from retailers to asses the strength of consumer demand.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring next month climbed 0.1% to 1,768.5 at 8:32 a.m. in New York. The benchmark index rose for a fifth consecutive week as data indicated the U.S. economy might be strong enough to endure a reduction in Federal Reserve stimulus. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts remain at 0% changes mainly due to Veterans Day holiday.

“Overall we think markets will now be a bit jumpier ahead of December’s FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee meeting] than they would have been with weaker data,” said Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank, in a note for Wall Street Journal. “This leads us to conclude that ultimately the Fed will hold off tapering again next month, which will then help risk assets.”

“We still think the pace of tapering will be slow in 2014 as financial conditions will be threatened every time it looks like the pace will be increased. So a recipe for more volatility it seems as the ‘will they won’t they’ swings one way and the other,” said Reid.

In corporate news, ViroPharma rose 26% to $49.81 in pre-market trading. Dublin-based Shire will pay $50 a share in cash for the maker of drugs that treat some rare diseases.

Tesla Motors Inc. gained 1.8% to $137.95 after posting its worst week since January 2012. The maker of electric cars led by Elon Musk dropped 25% in the past three weeks after multiple fires involving Model S cars. Although most of the accidents were caused by hitting debris on the road, the same problem causing fire in battery department of the car is appearing in two of the three cases. Companys spokesperson cited the owner of Tesla which took part in the accident last week, who explained that the electric car saved his life.

ImmunoGen Inc. declined 2.9% to $13.24. Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the maker of cancer drugs to “underweight”, similar to a “sell” recommendation, from “equal weight”. The brokerage cited risks that other treatments in early-stage testing could fail in later trials after the company said it stopped the study of a lung-cancer medicine.

Amazon shares could be on the move after news it has reached a deal with the U.S. Postal Service to make deliveries on Sunday to select customers in Los Angeles and New York, rolling out to more cities next year.

Shares of Twitter were off 2% in pre-market trading. The stock has been backtracking since surging more than 70% on its debut last Thursday. It fell 7.2% on Friday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Macy’s Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. are among companies reporting earnings this week, while Home Depot Inc. posts results on November 19.

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