U.S. Stock Futures Advance Before November Retail Sales Report

U.S. stock futures rose, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will snap yesterday’s decline, as investors awaited a report that may show U.S. retail sales grew faster in November.

Alcoa Inc. (AA) gained in early New York trading as aluminum advanced on the London Metal Exchange. Merck & Co. dropped after signing a drug development and marketing deal with Japan’s Mochida Pharmaceutical Co.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring in March advanced 0.7 percent to 1,237.4 at 12:33 p.m. in London. The benchmark measure slipped 1.5 percent yesterday as Moody’s Investors Services and Fitch Ratings said the Dec. 9 euro-area accord failed to ease the debt crisis and Intel Corp. cut its revenue forecast. The March contract on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 64 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,007 today.

“We’re moving in the right direction towards more normal markets,” said Anders Nellemose, chief equity strategist at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “It’s still a volatile market and even intraday swings may continue to be substantial as investors remain nervous.”

A report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington may show U.S. retail sales climbed in November as Americans bought more new cars and began their holiday shopping. Sales will increase 0.6 percent, following a 0.5 percent jump in October, according to the median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Fed Rate Decision

The Federal Reserve may keep its target rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent at a policy meeting today, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his policy- making colleagues meet today to discuss the outlook for an economy that has strengthened since their November gathering. The Federal Open Market Committee will announce its interest- rate decision at 2:15 p.m. in Washington.

Alcoa, the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, advanced 0.7 percent to $9.42 in early New York trading.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) rose 0.8 percent to $38.87 in New York after a union spokesman said workers at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia expect to sign an agreement in a day or two with the company’s local unit to end a three-month strike.

Merck declined 0.6 percent to $35.19 in early New York trading after signing a drug development and sales license deal with Mochida for a range of drug candidates invented by the Japanese drugmaker.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Levring in Copenhagen at plevring1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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