US STOCKS-Futures point to flat open after recent decline
* Indexes have fallen for two straight weeks
* Alcoa to buy RTI International for $1.5 bln
* GM up in premarket, to launch buyback program
* Futures up: Dow 12 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 8.5 pts (Updates trading, adds McDonald's sales)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Monday, after two straight weeks of declines on major indexes and as the benchmark S&P 500 comes off its biggest one-day loss in about two months.
Wall Street's recent downtrend has come as investors speculated over whether interest rates could be raised sooner than expected. Friday's weakness was driven by a jobs report that was much stronger than expected, which was seen as possibly pressuring the Federal Reserve to act soon on monetary policy. The central bank had said it would raise rates when the economy was deemed strong enough to support such a move.
While a more robust economy is better for stocks in the long run, investors have been concerned that a rate rise too soon - which would raise borrowing costs for companies and individuals - could damp growth as the economy's recovery has been slow.
The S&P 500 remains about 2 percent from its record closing high. The Dow is also near record levels, while the Nasdaq is 2.4 percent below its record close, which was hit in March 2000. Continued...