US stock futures decline before Fed meeting, European stocks advance

US stock-index futures dropped as Asian stocks headed for a three-month low before the two-day Federal Reserve meeting starting tomorrow and as a survey showed China’s manufacturing expansion slowing. European shares erased an early drop and are little changed from the level they opened today. The preliminary reading of the Chinas Purchasing Managers’ Index by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics missed the 50.9 median estimate.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 0.2% and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.7%. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.4% at 9:37 a.m. in London, with about the same number of companies rising as falling. Japan’s Topix declined 1.3% as the yen advanced against all 16 major peers.

“Tapering is all that the market cares about at the moment,” said to Bloomberg, Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management Ltd., which oversees about $60 billion. “Some are predicting the Chinese economy will continue to slow down, perhaps in a more sustainable path.”

Data at 9:15 a.m. in Washington may show US industrial production rose 0.6% last month from October, when it fell 0.1%, according to the median economist forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Another report may show a gauge of manufacturing in the New York region advanced to a three-month high.

In Europe, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is scheduled to speak to the European Parliament in Brussels, while Markit Economics will probably say today that its composite index for the services and manufacturing industries in the currency bloc rose to 52 in December from 51.7 in November.

Worldwide corporate news include H&M advancing 2.7% to 286 kronor. Europe’s second-biggest clothing retailer said revenue at stores and operations open at least a year rose 10% last month compared with a year earlier, the Stockholm-based company said. That topped the 4% gain anticipated in a survey of analysts by SME Direkt. It is the biggest advance in same-store sales in 20 months. The company’s total sales rose 21% in November, compared with a projected 14% gain.

In US Sprint shares closed up 3.4% on Friday following a Wall Street Journal report that the company was preparing a bid for smaller rival T-Mobile. After hours Friday, Sprint shares were the most actively traded with more than 5.3 million shares exchanging hands, giving the stock an additional 2.9% boost to $8.67. T-Mobile shares for their part jumped to close up 8.7% on Friday, and pared some of those gains after hours, declining 0.7% to $27.46 on heavy volume.

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