US STOCKS-Futures down sharply as oil hits 7-year low

viernes 11 de diciembre de 2015 08:17 GYT

* Futures down: Dow 156 pts, S&P 16 pts, Nasdaq 39 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were sharply lower on Friday as crude oil prices hit 7-year lows on growing oversupply concerns.

* The sharp drop in oil prices adds to investor uncertainty as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates for the first time since June 2006 at its meeting next week.

* Adding to the somber mood, China's yuan fell to its lowest in 4-1/2 years on concerns about the country's slowing economy and expectations of a U.S. rate hike.

* Global shares were lower amid concerns that weakness in the Chinese currency could weigh on the global economy and on companies with strong export ties to China.

* Investors are also awaiting U.S. data, which could cement expectations that the Fed is gearing up to hike rates at its Dec. 15-16 meeting.

* Fed fund futures place an 85 percent chance of a hike. A recent Reuters poll also showed that all but one of 18 brokerages that deal directly with the central bank expect a rate increase.

* U.S. retail sales likely picked up in November, which could ease concerns about tepid consumer spending in the fourth quarter. A Reuters survey of economists shows retail sales likely increased 0.3 percent last month, after inching up 0.1 percent in October. That data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).   Continuación...