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Stock Futures Point to Weaker Open

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a lower Wall Street open Friday as fiscal cliff and eurozone uncertainties continued to dominate market sentiment ahead of the latest U.S. consumer confidence data.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 69 points, or 55.32 points below fair value, at 12,706. Futures for the S&P 500 were slumping by 6.10 points, or 4.55 points below fair value, at 1369. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 4.25 points, or 1.06 points below fair value, at 2567.

"The euro area has seized defeat from the salivating jaws of victory, and contributed to risk aversion anxieties by raising the possibility that Greece's ongoing problems will not be resolved before the end of the month. It is just 'unnamed official' comments, but markets are in a strange mood," noted Paul Donovan, a global economist at UBS.

"Fiscal cliff concerns do not seem to have abated in the U.S., in spite of conciliatory comments from both sides in recent days. We hear from House Speaker Boehner and President Obama on the topic today, and the lame duck session of Congress returns on Tuesday. Let the squabbling commence," Donovan continued.

The Congressional Budget Office repeated its projections Thursday that if significant tax increases and spending cuts are allowed to go into effect in January they will probably cause the economy to fall back into a recession next year.

Congress is expected to work on tackling on the fiscal cliff next week.

The major U.S. equity averages endured a sharp drop Thursday as fresh worries about the eurozone and fiscal cliff overshadowed upbeat domestic labor market and trade data.

Concerns about Greece's stability returned after reports that the European Union won't decide on whether to provide the next round of bailout funds for the country until sometime next week, even though the Greek parliament on early Thursday had managed to pass by a narrow margin a new, tough austerity package.

Greece's parliamentary vote on the country's budget is expected to take place on Sunday, on the eve of a eurozone finance ministers meeting.

The read on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for November is scheduled to be released at 9:55 a.m. EST, and is predicted by economists to rise to 83 from 82.6.

At 10 a.m., the Census Bureau is expected to say that wholesale inventories rose 0.4% in September after gaining 0.5% the previous month.

Overseas markets were weak. The FTSE 100 in London was declining by 0.88%, while the DAX in Germany was shedding 1.56%. Japan's Nikkei average settled down 0.9% on Friday and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed behind by 0.85% even after data showing better-than-expected increases in Chinese industrial production and retail sales.

Gold for December delivery was tacking on $3.80 to $1,729.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts were down 39 cents at $84.70.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 7/32, lowering the yield to 1.595%. The dollar was up 0.20%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Priceline.com (PCLN) pulled off Thursday a surprise deal to acquire Kayak Software (KYAK) for $1.8 billion in cash and stock, valuing the shares at $40 each.

Priceline shares were sliding more than 2.5% in premarket trading Friday. Kayak shares were jumping more than 25.5%.

J.C. Penney (JCP) shares were tumbling more than 4.5% after the retailer posted a steeper-than-forecast third-quarter loss driven by deteriorating sales as customers remained very unreceptive to the company's new pricing strategy that is skewed toward everyday low pricing rather than big sales.

The company reported a loss of 93 cents a share on revenue of $2.93 billion versus the loss of 7 cents a share on revenue of $3.27 billion expected by analysts.

Walt Disney (DIS), the media and entertainment giant, posted an in-line quarterly profit on Thursday with net income rising 14% but came up short of analysts' estimates on the top line.

Disney shares were tumbling more than 5%.

Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) were jumping by more than 8.5% after the motion picture production and distribution company posted much stronger-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results, boosted by the home video release of "The Hunger Games."

Zipcar (ZIP) shares were soaring by more than 28% after the car sharing network company reported stronger-than-anticipated third-quarter results as its membership rose 18% from a year ago.

Groupon (GRPN), the online deals company, reported a surprise loss for its third quarter with revenue of $568.6 million missing Wall Street's consensus view of $590.1 million.

Groupon shares were plunging close to 20%.

Nordstrom (JWN) posted third-quarter profit of $146 million, or 71 cents a share, compared with $127 million, or 59 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 14%.

Nordstrom narrowed its full-year profit outlook to a range of $3.45 to $3.50 a share from guidance of $3.40 to $3.50 a share the retailer issued in August.

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX) said Thursday it's exploring strategic alternatives, perhaps selling itself to a third party.

Shares of the provider of electronic health record services were pulling back by more than 2%.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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