Stock futures sluggish; eyes on tax bill talks and General Electric

(Reuters) - U.S. stock futures pointed to a dull opening on Thursday with technology stocks holding on to their modest gains as traders focus on progress in tax bill negotiations and General Electric's job-cut plan.

- GE <GE.N> shares rose 0.6 percent to $17.76 in premarket trading after the struggling industrial conglomerate said it was axing 12,000 jobs at its global power business.

- Shares of tech giants Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O>, Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O>, Facebook Inc <FB.O>, Apple Inc <AAPL.O> and Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O> were up about 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent.

- Other early movers include Broadcom <AVGO.O>, which gained 5 percent after reporting upbeat profit and boosting its dividend by 72 percent, days after the chipmaker took its $103 billion bid for Qualcomm <QCOM.O> hostile.

- Lululemon Athletica <LULU.O> rose about 8 percent after the Canadian yoga and leisure apparel maker reported a higher-than-expected profit and gave an upbeat holiday-quarter forecast.

- U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on the tax bill on Wednesday, amid early signs that lawmakers could agree on a final bill ahead of a self-imposed Dec. 22 deadline.

- However, a gridlock between President Donald Trump and Congress over the passage of fresh spending legislation before Friday has raised fears of partial shut down of the federal government.

- Oil prices rose more than half a percent after dipping 2 percent on Wednesday as a fall in U.S. crude inventories was countered by soaring output and a rise in fuel stocks. [O/R]

- Data is expected to show weekly initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to 240,000 from 238,000 in the week before. The report is due 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).

Futures snapshot at 6:51 a.m. ET:

- Dow e-minis <1YMc1> were down 13 points, or 0.05 percent, with 19,224 contracts changing hands.

- S&P 500 e-minis <ESc1> were up 1.5 points, or 0.06 percent, with 122,705 contracts traded.

- Nasdaq 100 e-minis <NQc1> were up 15.75 points, or 0.25 percent, on volume of 29,337 contracts.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

12/07/2017 7:27

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