9:34AM EST: US Stock Futures Drop

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U.S. stock-index futures fell after Target Corp. said December sales may decline, spurring concern that last-minute Christmas shopping failed to save retailers from the slowest holiday season in five years.

Target, the second-biggest U.S. discount chain, slid after saying customer visits slowed following the Thanksgiving holiday. Merrill Lynch & Co. declined after CIBC World Markets Inc. said the world’s largest brokerage may report a writedown of as much as $7 billion. Futures extended declines after a private survey showed that home prices fell in October by the most in at least six years.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring in March decreased 5 to 1,501.6 at 9:16 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 32 to 13,595. Nasdaq-100 Index futures slipped 4 to 2,144. Asian stocks climbed to a two-week high after Toyota Motor Corp. raised its sales forecast for next year. Most European markets were closed. [MORE]