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Stock futures decline after benchmarks set records

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a lower start to Wall Street trade on Tuesday after benchmarks finished at all-time highs again the prior session.

Data out on Tuesday had small businesses expressing more optimism about the U.S. economy in May, with the National Federation of Independent Business reporting its Optimism Index at its highest since September 2007.

Still, the NFIB cautioned the reading remained well below those that usually come with economic expansion.

Treasury prices declined along with stock futures, with the 10-year Treasury yield used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumer loans rising 2 basis points to 2.629 percent.

Read MoreStocks versus bonds - One market could get pounded

The U.S. dollar held steady against other currencies, and dollar-denominated commodities including oil and gold gained.

Allergan shares fell in early New York trading after the Botox maker said its board had spurned a revised, unsolicited offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, which Allergan said "substantially" undervalued the company.

Other data showed China's annual consumer inflation rose 2.5 percent in May, faster than the 1.8 percent rise in April. While producer prices fell 1.4 percent on the year, this was still better than April's 2 percent drop.

Read MoreChina's consumer inflation picks up in May

In addition, Chinese stocks were boosted because the People's Bank of China cut the reserve ratio requirement for rural banks.

Stocks worth watching include Apple, which rose on Monday in the iPhone maker's first day of trading after a seven-for-one stock split.

Shares of Merck will be of interest after it agreed to buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at £3.85 billion on Monday. The day was a busy one for mergers and acquisitions, with Tyson Foods brokering a deal to buy Hillshire Brands for $8.55 billion, and Analog Devices saying it would purchase Hittite Microwave for $78 a share.

Wall Street tallied slight gains on Monday, with benchmark indexes again closing at record highs and the Dow within a whisper of 17,000.

Investors pondered the strength of the economy and policy moves by the Federal Reserve.

Speaking in Washington on Monday, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said that if the U.S. economy improves as forecast, the central bank's current taper pace may be too slow. He added that the strengthening economy may force the Fed to hike rates sooner to stay ahead of inflation.

Read MoreFed's Plosser: Current taper pace may be too slow

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