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Pre-Market: Facebook Joins the S&P 500; Jobless Claims Rise


Abercrombie & Fitch will be among those leaving the S&P 500.

Stocks were poised to extend yesterday's gains ahead of a flurry of US economic data.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly jumped to 368,000 last week, up 68,000 from the previous week. Economists had expected just 325,000 new claims. Retail sales for November were better than expected, however. Sales increased by 0.7% over October. Excluding autos and gas, sales were up 0.6%, beating forecasts of a 0.2% rise. Last month's export prices rose 0.1% month-over-month and import prices fell 0.6%.

Before the reports came out stock futures were lower as investors continue to worry about the possibility that the Federal Reserve might vote to scale back its asset purchases at its meeting next week. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.15% at 15,812.00. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures fell 0.11% to 1,778.80. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures sank 0.09% to 3,467.50.

European shares also fell overnight, hitting a two-month low. A report today showed that eurozone industrial production unexpectedly fell 1.1% month-over-month in October. Production was 0.2% higher than a year ago, however. Germany fared the worst, with output falling 1.2%. Gold prices also suffered, falling 1.8% to $1,234.40/oz.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE:HLT) will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:NYX) today. Blackstone (NYES:BX), the private equity manager that currently holds the hotel chain, is set to make up to $8 billion by bringing the company public. The hotelier will raise about $2.34 billion at the IPO. The price, $20 per share, suggests a total valuation of $19.7 billion.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares rose 3.9% after it was announced that it will join the S&P 500 and S&P 100 (INDEXSP:SP100) indices on Dec. 20. Joining the indices means that index-tracking funds will have to buy up shares of the social network. Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) will be among those leaving the index.

Samsung Electronics (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) lost a court case against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), this time on its own turf. A South Korean court dismissed Samsung's patent infringement claims that would have banned the sale of older iPhone and iPad models in the country.

Ciena Corporation (NASDAQ:CIEN) fell by more than 10% this morning. The maker of fiber optic cables and other networking equipment reported earnings of $0.16 per share, missing estimates by $0.08.

It was reported in multiple outlets yesterday that former Bank of Israel chief Stanley Fischer has been offered the job of Federal Reserve Vice Chairman. Judging by his past speeches, Fischer could be seen as a monetary dove who favors aggressive stimulus such as the current quantitative easing program.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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