U.S. Index Futures Little Changed After S&P 500 Record

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at a record amid optimism over the economic recovery.

Textron Inc. rose 0.4 percent in Germany after the manufacturer of Cessna aircraft said it will buy Beechcraft Corp. for $1.4 billion. Apple Inc. slipped in early New York trading after the iPhone maker renewed a request to ban sales in the U.S. of Samsung Electronics Co. products.

S&P 500 futures expiring in March fell 0.1 percent to 1,834.10 at 10:52 a.m. in London. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts lost 6 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,416.

“The beginning of withdrawal of monetary stimulus has added visibility for investors, who can now focus on a strengthening economic recovery,” Jacques Porta, who helps oversee $780 million as a fund manager at Ofi Gestion Privee in Paris, said by phone. “The U.S. economy is very strong, it’s a good surprise.”

The S&P 500 climbed for a fourth day yesterday, the longest streak in almost two months, to an all-time high of 1,842.02. A Labor Department report showed that jobless claims declined by 42,000 to 338,000 in the week ended Dec. 21. The median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 345,000. There are no economic reports scheduled for today.

The Federal Reserve, which has made employment creation a determinant factor of its monetary stimulus, said on Dec. 18 that it will reduce the pace of bond buying amid faster-than-estimated economic growth. Three rounds of stimulus have sent the S&P 500 up 172 percent from a 12-year low in 2009.

S&P Volume

Volume has been lower-than-average amid the Christmas holiday this week. Trading in S&P 500-listed stocks was 45 percent below the 30-day average yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Textron rose 0.4 percent to $36.34 in European trading. The company, seeking to counter a slump in business-jet sales, agreed to buy Beechcraft to boost its lineup of propeller-driven aircraft.

Providence, Rhode Island-based Textron will purchase all outstanding equity interests in Beech Holdings LLC, the parent of Beechcraft, it said in a statement yesterday. The deal, which includes the repayment of Beechcraft’s working capital debt, will be financed by a combination of available cash and as much as $1.1 billion in new debt.

Apple Inc. slipped to $563.70 in early New York trading. The maker of iPhones is again seeking to ban sales in the U.S. of Samsung products that were at issue in their first patent trial in California and are now no longer on the market. Apple yesterday asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, to bar sales of more than 20 smartphones and tablets, such as the Galaxy S 4G and Galaxy Tab 10.1, that a jury last year found to infringe Apple’s patents.

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