* Worries over fiscal cliff keep investors cautious
* Best Buy surges on report its founder to make buy offer
* Producer prices, retail sales, jobless claims on tap
* Futures: S&P down 1.1 pts, Dow up 11 pts, Nasdaq up 1.25
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, Dec 13 U.S. stocks were set to open
little changed on Thursday as a new round of stimulus for the
economy was not enough to offset worries over the impending
"fiscal cliff," while investors awaited a round of economic
Shares of Best Buy Co surged more than 11 percent
after a report that the company's founder is expected to make a
fully financed offer to buy the consumer electronics retailer by
the end of the week. Best Buy was up 11.3 percent at $13.56 in
In a busy day of data, reports on U.S. producer prices,
retail sales and first time claims for unemployment benefits
will all be released at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT). Business
inventories are due at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT).
In the European Union, finance ministers reached a deal to
make the European Central Bank the bloc's top banking
supervisor. The move could boost confidence in leaders' ability
to tackle the region's sovereign debt crisis.
But the set of U.S. tax hikes and spending cuts that are set
to come into effect in the new year remained at the forefront of
investors' minds. Negotiators on Wednesday warned the showdown
over reaching a deal could drag on past Christmas.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced a fresh bout of
stimulus for the U.S. economy, but markets focused on comments
from Chairman Ben Bernanke, who reiterated that monetary policy
would not be enough to offset going over the fiscal cliff.
Investors are worried that doing so could send the economy
back into recession, though most expect a deal will be struck
The central bank also took the unprecedented step of
indicating interest rates would remain near zero until
unemployment falls to at least 6.5 percent.
If a decline in the S&P 500 is sustained through the
session, it would break a six-day winning streak. Still, some of
those days have seen only slight gains on lower volume.
"Eventually the fiscal cliff will be addressed," said Andre
Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New
"The moves the market has had appear to represent a cautious
optimism. Something will get done - if it gets done before the
end of the year, the upside would be huge, I believe."
S&P 500 futures edged up 0.3 point but were still
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 were
up 11 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 1.25 points.
Sprint Nextel Corp is looking to buy Clearwire Corp
stock it does not already own for $2.90 per share, it
said in a regulatory filing. Shares of Clearwire jumped 14.6
percent to $3.15. Sprint slipped 1.2 percent to $5.59 in light
Ciena Corp fell 2.1 percent to $15.25 after the
company reported results that missed expectations.
Australia's GrainCorp Ltd rejected a sweetened $2.9
billion bid from Archer Daniels Midland Co. Analysts
said ADM was likely to lift its bid for the company.