US STOCKS-Futures little changed before initial claims, GDP data

Reuters

* Initial claims, GDP data on tap

* China Mobile signs deal with Apple - report

* Aeropostale tumbles on forecast

* Futures: Dow flat, S&P up 1.1 pt, Nasdaq up 6.75 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 theFederal Reserve may accelerate its timetable to wind down itsmonetary stimulus.

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 cut inMarch. The Fed has said it would slow its stimulus program whencertain economic measures meet its targets, including a declinein the U.S. unemployment rate.

"The only thing you get sanity from is individual companiesbecause if you are trying to make some kind of huge macro callhere and react, you are going to be really disappointed," saidKim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt CapitalGroup in Pittsburgh.

"That being said, it is important to watch the data comethrough but do you have to react? I don't think so."

Economic data expected at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) includesweekly initial jobless claims and a second estimate of thirdquarter gross domestic product.

Economists surveyed by Reuters expect claims to show a totalof 325,000 new filings compared with 316,000 in the prior weekwhile GDP is expected to have grown an annualized 3.0 percentcompared with 2.8 percent in the first estimate.

S&P 500 futures gained 1.1 points and slightly abovefair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking intoaccount interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on thecontract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were flat and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.75 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 1.6 percent to $573.78 inpremarket trading.

Aeropostale Inc slumped 7.1 percent to $8.70 beforethe opening bell after the apparel retailer forecast a muchbigger-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. Its shares slipped 1.1 percentto $121.65 in light premarket trade.

General Growth Properties Inc advanced 4.6 percentto $21.22 in premarket trade. Standard and Poor's said thecompany will replace Molex Inc in the S&P 500 after theclose of trading on Dec. 9.

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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