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Market Hustle: Futures Lackluster but Apple Gains Ground

Tickers in this article: AAPL CHL F ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were pointing to a flat to lower session on Wall Street Thursday as investors consider the possibility of Federal Reserve tapering in December and keep close tabs on this week's raft of economic data.

  • S&P 500 futures were down 0.5 points, or 0.46 points below fair value, to 1,791.25. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were off 12 points, or 2.77 points below fair value, to 15,874. Nasdaq futures were up 3.8 points, or 3.64 points above fair value, to 3,486.3.
  • Joe Bell, senior equity analyst with Schaeffer's Investment Research said: "The S&P 500 was up for the eight consecutive week last week, so it isn't a surprise to see the market take a bit of a breather this week. There will be a heavy dose of jobs reports toward the end of the week, which will get a ton of focus as investors continue to look for clues of when tapering will begin. The momentum has been strong, but many of the indices continue to struggle with round number areas they first approached last week and short-term consolidation before the next up leg makes sense here."
  • Third-quarter U.S. gross domestic product, weekly initial jobless claims and factory orders are on the docket Thursday. The Labor Department, at 8:30 a.m. EST, is expected to report that jobless claims rose to 325,000 in the week of Nov. 30 from 316,000 the prior week. The second estimate on third-quarter GDP will be released from the Bureau of Economic Analysis at 8:30 a.m. and is expected to register 3%, up from the 2.8% advanced estimate. October factory orders data from the Census Bureau could show a dip of 1% after gaining 1.7% the previous month.
  • Apple was tacking on 1.59% to $574 in premarket trading as The Wall Street Journal reported that China Mobile signed a long-awaited deal with the smart devices giant to offer iPhones on its network. Also, activist investor Carl Icahn plans to submit a proposal for a $50 billion buyback of stock to Apple's shareholders at the tech giant's annual meeting, a source told CNBC. Ford was also in the spotlight. The automaker plans to unveil the 2015 Mustang on Thursday morning at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn, Mich.
  • The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo slid from this week's almost six-year closing high, finishing down 1.5% to 15,177.49 as investors keep an eye on potential Fed action. Nevertheless, the benchmark has risen about 46% year to date and is on track for its strongest annual performance since 1972 thanks to the country's aggressive stimulus. The FTSE 100 was down 0.05% to 6,506.50 and the DAX in Germany was up 0.1% to 9,149.38. European markets were cautiously awaited policy announcements from the European Central Bank and Bank of England.

-- Written by Andrea Tse