NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Friday, with investors holding off on making big bets ahead of the release of key consumer data, though the Dow and S&P 500 were on track to snap a five-week streak of gains.
* Equities have struggled for direction this week, with indexes posting small moves on slight volume, though the trend has been modestly negative. The S&P has closed under its 14-day moving average for the past three sessions, a sign of weak near-term momentum. The level, 1,998.43, served as resistance on Thursday, suggesting it may be difficult to resume the market’s former trend of grinding higher gradually.
* While recent action has tilted to the negative side, the S&P is about 0.5 percent away from a record close hit last week. Despite recent weakness, equities have not suffered a pronounced pullback in months, with investors using market weakness as buying opportunities.
* Investors are looking ahead to August retail sales data, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), which are seen rising 0.6 percent. The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers is due at 9:55 a.m., and is expected to rise to 83.3 from 82.5.
* While economic data has by-and-large come in ahead of expectations, there have been a few disappointments, especially on the labor market. August import and export prices will be released at 8:30 a.m., both are seen down less than 1 percent.
* For the week, both the Dow and S&P 500 are down 0.5 percent. The Nasdaq, however, is up 0.2 percent and on track for its sixth straight weekly rise, a period over which it has gained 5.5 percent. If the Nasdaq ends the week in positive territory, that would represent the index’s longest winning streak since a previous six-week run ended in February 2013.
* The CBOE Volatility index, a measure of investor anxiety, is up 5.9 percent thus far this week, its biggest weekly rise since early August, though at 12.80 the VIX remains well below its historical average of 20.
Futures snapshot at 6:59 a.m. EDT (1059 GMT):
* S&P 500 e-minis remained unchanged, with 78,327 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis down 0.5 points, or 0.01 percent, in volume of 8,702 contracts.
* Dow e-minis up 2 points, or 0.01 percent, with 6,065 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)