US futures tick down

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By Reuters

New York - US stock index futures dipped on Friday, continuing a trend this week of thin volume and tight trading bands, as the S&P 500 struggled to extend its streak of weekly gains to seven.

* In search of fresh catalysts, traders will eye the Federal Reserve's release of industrial production and capacity utilisation data for January at 9:15 a.m. ET (16:15 SA time), and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers preliminary February consumer sentiment index at 9:55 a.m. (16:55 SA time).

* Consumer sentiment is seen slightly higher at 74.8, compared with 73.8 in January, while production and capacity utilisation are both seen ticking slightly higher.

* The S&P 500, up more than 6 percent so far this year, is facing strong technical resistance near the 1,525 level. But investors, expecting further gains in the quarter, have held back from locking in profits.

* With more than $158 billion in deals announced so far in 2013, merger and acquisition activity has also given support to the equity market as it points to healthy valuations and bets on the economic outlook.

* S&P 500 futures fell 1.7 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 6 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.5 points.

* Herbalife shares jumped 22 percent in premarket trading, a day after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said in a regulatory filing that he owned 14 million shares, or 13 percent, of the company that sells weight-loss and vitamin products, and was ready to put it in play.

* Burger King Worldwide shares jumped 3.7 percent in light premarket trading after it reported a 94 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit.

* Kraft Foods Group said fourth-quarter revenue likely declined 10.7 percent from a year earlier, largely due to reductions in trade inventories. Its shares dipped 1.4 percent in premarket trading. - Reuters

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