(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pared gains after weaker-than-expected retail sales and producer prices data as investors await cues from the minutes of the FOMC meeting.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 26 points to 12,743. The Nasdaq futures added 10.75 points to 2,571.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures inched up 3.60 points to 1,374.50.
The Commerce Department reported retail sales fell 0.3 percent and core retail sales was unchanged for October due to superstorm Sandy, with both figures missing economists expectations of a 0.2 percent rise. Core retail sales measures the change in the total value of sales at the retail level in the U.S., excluding automobiles.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department said core producer price index in October unexpectedly fell 0.2 percent, as economists expected a 0.1 percent increase. The headline index also declined 0.2 percent, versus estimate of a rise of 0.2 percent. In September, core producer prices was unchanged.
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The Federal Open Market Committee, the rate-setting committee of the Federal Reserve, is set to release its minutes of its October 23-24 meeting at 2 pm ET.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks ended in the red as lingering worries about the fiscal cliff and eurozone concerns dented sentiment. Investors continue to weigh the so-called fiscal cliff of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that could hit economic growth. Last week, President Barack Obama called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans to address the deficit.
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In corporate news, Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) reported an 18 percent increase in quarterly earnings on strong sales growth and lower expenses. Results exceeded Wall Street expectations, sending its shares up 7.54 percent in premarket.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) reported a 40.5 percent jump in quarterly earnings on higher sales. The specialty retailer's results beat Street's expectations, and it raised 2012 profit view above consensus, sending its shares spiking 31.49 percent in premarket.
Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) added 4.62 percent in premarket after the office products company's non-GAAP earnings for the third quarter beat expectations. The company reported a loss for the third quarter amid lower sales and also backed its forecast for the year.
IAMGOLD Corp. (NYSE: IAG) retreated 6.59 percent in premarket after the Canadian miner posted lower third-quarter results that missed market expectations.
Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) may be in focus after the company announced CFO David Wehner is leaving the company today to pursue a senior finance position at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB).
Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC) shed 2.27 percent after the Switzerland-based maker of electronic security systems slipped to a quarterly loss due to spin-off and separation costs and its adjusted earnings missed Wall Street expectations.
Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: NUS) forecast higher earnings and revenue for 2013 and the provider of anti-aging products agreed to acquire NOX Technologies Inc., a biodiagnostic company, for $12.5 million.
European markets traded in red, with Germany's DAX down 0.57 percent to trade at 7,127.96. France's CAC40 shed 0.66 percent to trade at 3,407.99. U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.69 percent to trade at 5,746.58.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index gained 0.37 percent to finish at 2,055.42. Japan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.04 percent to end at 8,664.73. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 1.20 percent to end at 21,441.99. India's BSE Sensex was shut for a holiday.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures fell 0.15 percent to $85.25 per barrel. Gold futures dipped 0.10 percent to $1,723.10 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro rose 0.30 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2742, while the British pound was flat at 1.5871. The dollar jumped 1.01 percent against the Japanese yen to 80.1800.