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U.S. futures flat ahead of retail sales data

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[June 12, 2014]  By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Thursday as investors looked ahead to data on retail sales and the labor market, taking a pause after the S&P 500's biggest one-day drop in three weeks.

* The S&P has fallen for two straight days, while the Dow snapped a four-day streak of records on Wednesday. However, the market's uptrend is still seen intact, and the benchmark S&P remains less than 0.4 percent away from its record close.

* Low volume and low volatility have marked recent sessions, with indexes trading in a tight range amid an absence of major trading events.

* There could be catalysts at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), with the release of retail sales and jobless claims data. May retail sales are seen rising 0.6 percent, up from the 0.1 percent growth rate in April, while weekly jobless claims are seen falling by 2,000 to 310,000. May import and export prices will also be released at 8:30, and are seen rising 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

* The CBOE Volatility Index had its biggest one-day advance since mid-May on Wednesday, rising to 11.6, though it remains well below its historical average of 20. In another measure of the market's low volatility, the 14-day Average True Range on the S&P 500 fell to 9.71 on Wednesday, the lowest since February 2013.

* S&P 500 futures rose 0.6 point and were above 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 added 2 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 5.75 points. * In company news, Geron Corp was the Nasdaq's most active premarket mover, jumping 33 percent to $3.45 on heavy volume after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted a partial clinical hold on a study testing its blood cancer drug.

* Lululemon Athletica Inc fell 6.8 percent to $41.28 in premarket trading after the athletic apparel retailer cut its full-year earnings and revenue outlook.

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* Intel Corp lost its challenge against a record $1.44 billion European Union fine handed down five years ago, as Europe's second highest court said regulators did not act too harshly. Shares of the Dow component fell 0.6 percent to $27.77 before the bell.

* Chipmakers will be in focus on Thursday, a day after the PHLX semiconductor index closed out its 15th straight daily advance, the longest stretch of gains since the index was created about 20 years ago. It is up 7.8 percent during the recent streak.

* Twitter Inc rose 0.4 percent in premarket trading. Late Wednesday, technology news site Re/code reported that the social networking company was considering a shake-up in its top management, including a possible shift in the duties of Chief Operating Officer Ali Rowghani.

(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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