US STOCKS-Wall St to open higher on retail sales lift
* Starboard Value takes stakes in Office Depot, Staples
* Initial claims fall, retail sales top expectations
* Futures up: Dow 55 pts, S&P 8.25 pts, Nasdaq 14.75 pts (Adds quote, data)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for a higher open on Thursday after a three-day drop for the S&P 500 as data pointed to a strengthening economy that appeared likely to overcome the impact of a steep drop in oil prices.
The benchmark S&P index dropped more than 1 percent on Wednesday and has shed 2.4 percent over the past three sessions, it's worst run in two months, as weakness in oil prices has weighed heavily on the energy sector.
But the weakness in oil has helped consumer spending, with retail sales data for November topping expectations, indicating lower gas prices gave holiday shopping a boost.
"We are starting to get some metrics around the energy and we are seeing that one 'X' factor of will consumers spend this extra money?" said Sean McCarthy, regional CIO for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Scottsdale, Arziona.
"And in the holiday season they are (spending), and more so." Continuación...