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Stock Futures Trim Gains After U.S. Data

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were paring gains Friday as investors continued to monitor the U.S. "fiscal cliff" debates in Washington and after data showed a fall in domestic consumer spending and incomes unchanged.

One bright spot for the markets Friday was the approval of the Greek debt deal by German lawmakers.

The German Parliament on Friday gave the green light, by a vote of 473-100, for a deal assembled by European finance ministers earlier this week to reduce Greece's debt burden to 124% of GDP by 2020. The approval helps open the path to unlocking €44 billion in financial aid to Greece and helps prevent the country from sliding into bankruptcy and potentially leaving the eurozone.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 1 point, or 18.18 points above fair value, at 13,022. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.50 points, or 2.15 points above fair value, at 1416. Futures for the Nasdaq were rising 1 point, or 2.97 points above fair value, at 2681.

The major U.S. equity averages finished modestly higher Thursday despite the ongoing back-and-forth on Capitol Hill about the pace of U.S. budget talks.

House Speaker John Boehner threw cold water on the perception that momentum toward a compromise was picking up, bringing stocks off early-session highs. Boehner was quoted as saying there's been no "substantive" progress as yet in the ongoing bi-partisan negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, according to media reports.

"The fiscal cliff is such an acute issue with such a specific time horizon, investors must handicap its outcome," said Leo Kelly, managing director and partner at HighTower Kelly Wealth Management. "For an indication of the magnitude of the potential damage, one only needs to look at the Fed and its actions. Clearly the Fed is more concerned with the negative impact of non-action."

"The stakes are so high and voters are so frustrated that a deal must be done," he said. "While the outcome is uncertain, our belief is that the probability favors a resolution, at least a temporary resolution. Therefore, the market should continue to move in a relatively tight trading pattern until it believes it knows the outcome of negotiations on Capitol Hill. Once that uncertainty passes, we can then focus on fundamentals."

"We continue to believe that equity valuations are reasonable and that adding to equity cautiously and deliberately during periods of volatility will be a better decision that hiding out in treasuries at extraordinary low yields. Since the election we have been reducing our heavy cash position built in the summer moving slowly back into equity," said Kelly.

On the U.S. data front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday that personal income was flat in October after rising 0.4% in September while personal spending fell 0.2% after increasing 0.8%; economists expected personal income to rise 0.2% and personal spending to be flat.

Core prices ticked up 0.1% after rising by 0.1% the prior month. Economists predicted an uptick of 0.2%.

"This is a disappointing report even if adjusting for Sandy in terms of spending and income with another benign read on core inflation," said David Ader, a strategist at CRT. "Here we are daunted by the flat gain in disposable income with real disposable income down 0.1% an up a mere 1.2% year-over-year. Thinks about this in the context of higher taxes in 2013."

At 9:45 a.m. EST, the Chicago PMI Index is predicted to show a rise to 50.5 in November from 49.9 in October.

The FTSE 100 in London was rising by 0.14% on Friday, while the DAX in Germany was up by 0.3%. Japan's Nikkei average finished up 0.48% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up by 0.49%.

Gold for February delivery was rising $2.70 at $1,732.20 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while January crude oil contracts were up 12 cents at $88.19 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 2/32, pushing the yield up to 1.626%. The dollar was off 0.08%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Zynga (ZNGA) and Facebook (FB) modified the terms of their partnership.

Zynga disclosed in a regulatory filing that it will no longer have to display Facebook ads or use Facebook payments on its own Zynga.com properties. Facebook will be permitted to develop its own games under the new partnership.

Zynga shares were plunging more than 9% in premarket trading.

Zumiez (ZUMZ) shares tumbled after the specialty retailer gave a disappointing outlook on Thursday and quarterly revenue came in below analysts' forecasts.

Shares were diving more than 8%.

Splunk (SPLK), the software company, saw its shares rise in after-hours trading, helped by strong third-quarter revenue growth.

Splunk also gave fourth-quarter revenue guidance on Thursday that was above Wall Street estimates.

Shares were rising more than 1%.

Citigroup's (C) trading and investment-banking division plans to cut 150 more jobs and shrink bonuses by as much as 10%, Bloomberg reported, citing two people with direct knowledge of the decisions.

Shares were flat.

Whole Foods Market (WFM) shares were rising more than 2% after the natural and organic foods supermarket chain declared a special dividend of $2 a share.

Regal Entertainment (RGC) shares were popping more than 4.5% after the company announced it has completed the acquisition of Great Escape Theatres and declared a special cash dividend of $1 a share of class A and class B common stock.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



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

Stock quotes in this article: ^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC, ZNGA, RGC, ZUMZ, SPLK, C, WFM 

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