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Stock Futures Pare Declines Ahead of Economic Data Reports

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were paring losses as investors awaited consumer confidence and industrial production numbers Friday, and positioned themselves for the Federal Reserve's policy announcement next Wednesday.

"At the FOMC meeting next week, the Fed is expected to maintain its accommodative policy stance, with only slight upgrades to the economic assessment provided in the statement," noted Millan Mulraine, director of U.S. rates research at TD Securities USA LLC in New York. "However, the overriding theme emerging from the accompanying economic projections and Bernanke press conference will be that the Committee believes that the outlook for growth and the labor market is improving sufficiently to justify consideration of a slowing in the pace of policy accommodation later this year."

Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 1.5 points, or 0.84 points above fair value, to 1,629.5.

News Corp. (NWSA) was slipping nearly 1% to $31.37. The media giant announced late Thursday that its Chief Financial Officer David DeVoe will retire at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, and that deputy CFO John Nallen will be replacing him.

Separately, Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., filed for divorce from Wendi Deng Murdoch, his wife of 14 years, citing a breakdown in the relationship. The divorce filing isn't likely to alter the Murdoch family's control of the media conglomerate, according to reports.

Restoration Hardware (RH) was surging more than 11% to $65.57 after the home-furnishing company hiked its current quarter outlook after posting first-quarter earnings that beat expectations by two cents at 6 cents a share. Revenue also topped estimates as same-store sales soared by 41% in the first quarter.

GameStop (GME) was gaining nearly 2% to $38.22 after the video game retailer was raised to "outperform" from "perform" by Oppenheimer analysts, who wrote that the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One launches will help revive the company's earnings and revenue.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 14 points, or 11.92 points above fair value, to 15,103. Futures for the Nasdaq were off 0.25 points, or 2.1 points above fair value, to 2,956.75.

Major U.S. stock markets jumped Thursday on better-than-expected consumer spending and labor market reports which offset concern the Federal Reserve may curb its monetary stimulus program.

The Federal Reserve at 9:15 a.m. is expected to report that industrial production rose 0.2% in May after falling 0.5% in April, and that capacity utilization rose to 77.9% last month from 77.8% in April.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report, out at 9:55 a.m., is expected to come in at 84.5 for June, the same as the prior month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported early Friday that the producer price index gained by a greater than expected 0.5% in May after falling 0.7% in April. Economists, on average, expected the PPI to increase 0.1%. The core PPI held steady at 0.1%, as expected.

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the U.S. current account deficit narrowed by more than expected to $106.1 billion in the first quarter, down from $110.4 billion in the fourth quarter. On average, economists had expected the current account deficit to come in at $109.7 billion.

The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.21% while the DAX in Germany was gaining 0.29% on Friday. The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished up 1.94% after the prior session's plunge as Thursday's upbeat U.S. data helped the assuage concerns over whether the U.S. can stand on its own with less Fed stimulus. The Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 0.39%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 8/32, diluting the yield to 2.123%. The dollar was up 0.19% to $80.90 according to the U.S. dollar index.

August gold futures were up 10 cents to $1,377.90 an ounce. July oil futures were up 24 cents to $96.93 a barrel.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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