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U.S. stock-index futures pared early gains on weaker-than-expected consumer spending and personal income data. Traders also awaited news on U.S. budget talks.
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As of 8:37 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 2 points to 13018, S&P 500 futures declined 1.3 points to 1415 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 1 point to 2681.
The markets were looking to close out the week with modest gains, with the Dow and S&P 500 up by less than 1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has posted a stronger performance, climbing 1.5%.
Focus has broadly remained on key talks in the White House and on Capitol Hill aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff. Headlines have pointed to continued disagreements between Republicans and Democrats, but most analysts say they expect some sort of deal to be made. Still, the back-and-forth has made for a turbulent ride on Wall Street.
"Policymakers may still add to market choppiness in statements that offer little substance while prompting much analysis," analysts at Nomura wrote in a note to clients.
There are two economic reports that may also help define a direction.
The Commerce Department said U.S. consumer spending dropped 0.2% in October from September, the first decline since May. Meanwhile, personal income remained unchanged, the weakest reading since April. Economists expected spending to remain unchanged and income to rise 0.2%.
Later, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago will provide an update the manufacturing sector in the U.S. Midwest. Economists expect the gauge to have climbed to 50.5 in November from 49.9 the month prior, indicating a shift from slight contraction to slight expansion.
Commodities markets were little changed. The benchmark crude oil contract gained 5 cents, or 0.06%, to $88.12 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.13% to $2.784 a gallon.
In metals, gold climbed $2.60, or 0.15%, to $1,732 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.41% to 2592, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.22% to 5883 and the German DAX rose 0.55% to 7441.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.48% to 9446 and the Chinese Hang Seng ticked higher by 0.49% to 22030.