US STOCKS-Wall St to open flat after largest selloff in three months

* Futures: Dow up 7 pts, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 1 pt (Updates prices)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Dow Futures edged higher on Tuesday following the largest losses on Wall Street since early October and ahead of a large data batch that will show the momentum of the U.S. economy at the end of last year.

Two separate readings on the U.S. services sector growth in December are due shortly after the opening bell. A gauge of durable goods and factory orders for November is due at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), as well as an index of economic optimism for January.

The main headwinds for equities remain unresolved as crude prices continue to fall and an election in Greece, which may trigger its exit from the euro zone, is some three weeks ahead, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

“That adds to the concern the euro zone is facing an economic slowdown and some of the weaker members have more debt than they can handle,” said Hogan.

Speaking of the sharp decline in oil prices in recent months, Hogan said there is concern “there is something larger at play rather than just the market dynamic of oil.

“People think there must be a much larger global economic slowdown to cause this, and the reaction is to sell equities.”

Crude oil prices continued to fall on Tuesday, with Brent down as much as 3.5 percent and U.S. crude down as much as 3.1 percent. Both were recently down more than 2 percent.

The S&P 500 fell 1.8 percent to post its worst day in almost three months on Monday, with energy shares leading the decline as global economic concerns were compounded by swooning oil prices. The energy sector of the S&P 500 fell 4 percent.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were mostly flat and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a slightly higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 7 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 1 point.

AOL Inc shares rose 5.5 percent in premarket trading the day after a report that Verizon Communications approached AOL about a potential acquisition or joint venture. The Bloomberg story cited people with knowledge of the matter.

CytRx Corp shares jumped 24 percent in high volume after preliminary findings showed its experimental cancer drug was effective on a small group of patients with a deadly form of brain cancer.

Shares of Minerva Neurosciences rose 60 percent premarket the day after data showed an analog of the company’s experimental compound showed improvements in treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in primates.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)

Dow Futures

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