US STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of claims, GDP data

Reuters

* Initial claims, GDP data on tap

* China Mobile signs deal with Apple - report

* Aeropostale tumbles on forecast

* Futures: Dow off 9 pts, S&P off 0.9 pt, Nasdaq up 3.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Dec 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures werelittle changed on Thursday, ahead of data on the labor marketand economic growth that may help investors assess whether awind-down of Federal Reserve stimulus is imminent.

* The S&P 500 has fallen for four straight sessions,shedding 0.8 percent, its longest losing streak since lateSeptember as recent economic data has cast some uncertainty overwhen the Federal Reserve will begin to trim its stimulus of $85billion in monthly bond purchases.

* Many market participants expect the Fed to announce a cutin March. The Fed has said it would slow its stimulus programwhen certain economic measures meet its targets, including adecline in the U.S. unemployment rate.

* Economic data expected at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT)includes weekly initial jobless claims and a second estimate ofthird quarter gross domestic product.

* Economists surveyed by Reuters expect claims to show atotal of 325,000 new filings compared with 316,000 in the priorweek while GDP is expected to have grown an annualized 3.0percent compared with 2.8 percent in the first estimate.

* S&P 500 futures slipped 0.9 point and were slightlybelow fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by takinginto account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration onthe contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures shed 9points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.5 points.

* Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), Octoberfactory orders data is expected. Economists surveyed by Reutersexpect a drop of 1.0 percent compared with a 1.7 percent rise inSeptember.

* China Mobile Ltd, the country's largest mobileoperator, has signed a long-awaited deal with Apple Inc to offer iPhones on its network, the Wall Street Journalreported on Thursday, citing an anonymous source familiar withthe matter. Apple shares gained 1.4 percent to $573 in premarkettrading.

* Aeropostale Inc slumped 8.7 percent to $8.55before the opening bell after the apparel retailer forecast amuch bigger-than-expected loss for the holiday shopping quarter.

* Costco Wholesale Corp's November same-store salesfell short of analysts' expectations, as lower gasoline pricesand weak foreign currencies dampened a five percent increase inthe company's monthly net sales.

* Retailers and telecoms led European shares lower and Asianmarkets were mostly down on concerns over the potential for anearly winding down of equity-friendly U.S. monetary stimulus.

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