NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were poised for a softer open on Wall Street Thursday, extending the selloff of the prior session as Federal Reserve taper talk increased and investors awaited the outcome of budget talks in Washington.
- S&P 500 futures were down 1.5 points, or 2.37 points below fair value, to 1,779.25. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were retreating 19 points, or 17.53 points below fair value, to 15,817. Nasdaq futures were off 2.7 points, or 0.99 points below fair value, to 3,467.8.
Markets are bracing for the chance there could be a stimulus tapering announcement, amid improved economic data in recent months, at the next Fed policy meeting taking place on Wednesday. The event will be accompanied by forecasts, followed by a press conference. The S&P 500 is up about 27% year to date and on track for its strongest yearly increase since 1998 after the central bank stood pat on its $85 billion monthly bond purchasing program. The benchmark S&P has now risen about 167%, after sinking to a 12-year low in 2009, fuelled by three rounds of quantitative easing embarked on by the Fed.
Major U.S. stock markets dropped Wednesday amid growing speculation the Federal Reserve will curb its stimulus program after an apparent political deal on the U.S. budget alleviated concerns about another government shutdown. The House is expected to vote Thursday on the $85 billion budget deal revealed Tuesday evening, negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The deal outlines spending levels for 2014 and 2015.
The Census Bureau is expected to report at 8:30 a.m. EST that retail sales in November rose 0.6% after gaining 0.4% in October, according to a Reuters poll of economists. The Labor Department is forecast to say at the same time that initial jobless claims rose to 320,000 in the week of Dec. 7, from 298,000 the previous week. November import and export prices will be released at 8:30 a.m. October business inventories will be reported at 10 a.m.
- In upbeat stock news, Facebook (FB) shares were soaring nearly 4% to $51.35 in premarket trading Wednesday after it was announced the social networking giant would be added to the S&P 500 on Dec. 20. Facebook also is being added to the S&P 100 index. Home Depot (HD) is building out the capability to offer same-day shipping and delivery, the Wall Street Journal reported. Also, Hilton Worldwide's initial public offering was priced at $20 a share, in what is poised to be the biggest-ever U.S. hotel IPO. Software maker Adobe (ADBE) is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Thursday.
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