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Futures Decline Amid Debt Ceiling, Earnings Worries

Tuesday, 15 Jan 2013 | 9:12 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures edged lower Tuesday as investors worried over the ongoing debate in Washington over raising the debt ceiling and ahead of what is expected to be a lackluster earnings season.

After the closing bell on Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling—the $16.4 trillion borrowing limit—while Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned the ceiling could be reached by mid-February or early March. (Read More: Bernanke: 'We're Not Out of the Woods' Despite 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal)

Gains in Europe and Asian trade on Tuesday were also capped by concerns about the U.S. debt ceiling.

Market Mavens on Economic Outlook
Richard LeFrak, The LeFrak Organization president, and Wilbur Ross, WL Ross & Co. chairman & CEO, share their thoughts on Fed policy, interest rates, the debt ceiling, and Lance Armstrong.

Among earnings, Lennar posted earnings that topped expectations and the homebuilder reported a seventh-straight jump in new home orders.

Earnings will kick off in earnest on Wednesday, with reports due from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Ebay. (Read More: Bank Earnings: What to Watch For)

"Traders will most likely continue to positioning themselves for tomorrow when the earning season will most likely take center stage," said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital, in a note.


On the economic front, retail sales rose 0.5 percent in December as consumers largely overlooked the threat of higher taxes, according to the Commerce Department. Economists expected sales to edge up 0.2 percent, according to a Reuters poll. Combined, sales climbed 5.2 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, producer prices declined 0.2 percent in December, slipping for the third-straight month, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a drop of 0.1 percent.

And manufacturing in New York state fell to -7.8, contracting for a sixth-consecutive month in January, according to the New York Federal Reserve. Economists had expected a flat reading, according to a survey by Reuters.

At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department will release November business inventories.

"The impact of the economic data on the financial markets might be rather short lived as the political wrangling over the raising of the debt ceiling is starting to heat up in Washington spreading increasingly uncertainty which could limit any advances to the upside," said Siddiqi.

Dell extended gains a day after sources said the computer hardware company is in talks with private equity firms on a potential buyout.

Facebook dipped ahead of its news event at its headquarters.

—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)

Coming Up This Week:

TUESDAY: Business inventories, Fed's Plosser speaks, credit card default rates reported, Facebook event
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, CPI, Treasury int'l capital, industrial production, housing market index, Fed's Kocherlakota speaks, oil inventories, Beige Book, Fed's Fisher speaks, OPEC's monthly market report; Earnings from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of NY Mellon, Ebay
THURSDAY: Housing starts, jobless claims, Philadelphia Fed survey, natural gas inventories, Fed's Lockhart speaks, Fed balance sheet, money supply; Earnings from Bank of America, Citigroup, UnitedHealth, BB&T, BlackRock, American Express, Intel, Capital One
FRIDAY: General Electric, Schlumberger, Morgan Stanley

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