PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a steady Wall Street open, with S&P 500 futures down 0.11 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.03 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.05 percent at 0954 GMT.
European shares were flat to slightly lower in early trade on Friday as investors waited to see if a deal to avoid the U.S. "fiscal cliff" would be reached before further boosting their exposure to equities. <.EU>
President Barack Obama and lawmakers are launching a last-chance round of budget talks days before a New Year's deadline to reach a deal or watch the economy go off a "fiscal cliff." Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet congressional leaders from both parties at the White House on Friday at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT).
On the macro front, investors awaited pending home sales data for November. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 1.0 percent rise compared with a 5.2 percent gain in the previous month.
Investors in U.S.-based funds favored stock exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and emerging market equity mutual funds as the year wound down, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed on Thursday.
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U.S. stocks fell for a fourth day on Thursday, but recovered most of their losses after the House of Representatives, in the barest sign of progress, said it would come back to work on avoiding the "fiscal cliff" this weekend.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 18.28 points, or 0.14 percent, to 13,096.31 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> declined 1.73 points, or 0.12 percent, to end at 1,418.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 4.25 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 2,985.91.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)
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