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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Are Little Changed as Arena Shares Drop

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at a record yesterday, as investors awaited data on pending house sales, consumer spending and economic growth.

Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. slumped 10 percent in early trading after posting a wider fourth-quarter loss. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. gained 3.6 percent as the retailer agreed to meet with Men’s Wearhouse Inc. to discuss a potential merger after rejecting its rival’s latest offer.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring in March lost 0.1 percent to 1,851.7 at 7:47 a.m. in New York. The equity benchmark has risen 4 percent in February as Janet Yellen, who replaced Ben S. Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve at the start of the month, said that the central bank will probably reduce its monthly bond purchases at regular intervals if the labor market continues to improve. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts fell 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,256 today.

“Investors are standing on the sidelines until economic data takes center stage later today, especially since earnings season is mostly behind us at this point,” said Andreas Nigg, head of equity and commodity strategy at Vontobel Asset Management in Zurich. “I think that the feeling is that while the tensions between Russia and Ukraine -- as well as the winter causing weaker economic numbers -- cannot be ignored, these issues shouldn’t spoil the party either.”

Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said today that Russian soldiers have contributed to the rising tension in the country’s Crimea region. Armed men wearing uniforms without Russian markings arrived at the main airport in Simferopol over night. Crimean lawmakers agreed yesterday to hold a referendum on the territorial status of the peninsula on May 25.

U.S. Economy

A report from the National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. in Washington may show that contracts to buy previously owned residential properties rose in January. The gauge of pending house sales increased 1.8 percent last month, according to economists in a Bloomberg News survey. They dropped 8.7 percent in December.

The Commerce Department will issue its revised estimate for fourth-quarter economic growth at 8:30 a.m. The release may show that gross domestic product expanded 2.5 percent at an annual pace in the final three months of 2013, less than the 3.2 percent growth the government had estimated.

The report will probably also show that consumer spending increased 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, less than the previous estimate of 3.3 percent.

Arena Slides

Arena Pharmaceuticals slumped 10 percent to $6.09. The maker of the weight-loss drug Belviq posted a fourth-quarter loss of 11 cents per share, widening from a loss of 10 cents per share a year earlier.

KBR Inc. declined 1.5 percent to $31.46 in German trading. The military contractor forecast earnings per share of $1.75 to $2.10 in 2014, less than the $2.49 that analysts had estimated. It also reported fourth-quarter revenue of $1.7 billion, missing the $1.93 billion average analyst projection.

Jos. A. Bank rose 3.6 percent to $62.50 in early New York trading. The menswear chain rejected a $1.78 billion bid from Men’s Wearhouse late yesterday. Jos. A. Bank said the proposal failed to meet the interests of investors.

The $63.50 a share offer from Men’s Wearhouse expires March 12. The bidder said earlier this week that it could increase its price to $65 a share, or about $1.82 billion, if Jos. A. Bank abandons its agreement to buy outdoor-clothing chain Eddie Bauer. Jos. A. Bank agreed to buy Eddie Bauer earlier this month in a deal that may create a company too big for Men’s Wearhouse to acquire.

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