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Futures Under Pressure; Lowe's, Citi Move Lower

Stock index futures were indicating a sharp loss Monday for Wall Street, as investors worried over more displays of the retail slump and Citigroup prepared for huge job cuts.

"This baby is going down and it's going down fast," Tom Hougaard, chief market strategist at City Index, told CNBC when looking at the US futures.

"I see no reason for anyone picking up the baton this morning," Hougaard said.

When compared to fair-market value formulas, the major indexes were looking at drops of 2 percent or more at the open.

Details on job cuts at Citigroup are expected at 8 am New York time when Citi CEO Vikram Pandit addresses employees.

CNBC reported that up to 50,000 job cuts are expected. Citi shares fell 2 percent in premarket trading.

US automakers can only wait as Congress debates bailing out the beleaguered sector. The contentious issue has divided opinion at a time when the economic slowdown is causing job cuts throughout the country.

General Motors, one of the companies most in need of cash, is already trying to raise funds by selling its 3 percent stake in Suzuki Motor for $232 million back to the Japanese automaker.

GM shares surged about 5 percent premarket while Ford was up 2.8 percent.

And the prospects for the economy remained bleak as a survey from the National Association of Business Economists showed real gross domestic product was expected to fall by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter. The recession would continue for the at least the first three quarters of next year, the survey said.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase is set to cut thousands of jobs from its global operations next year, UK newspaper The Sunday Telegraph reported. JPMorgan is likely to axe a similar amount of posts to its rivals, the paper said.

Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig will speak at 9 am in New York on managing the financial crises. Also taking to the stage is Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson who will speak at 6.30 pm on markets and the global economy.

On the economic front, October's industrial production data is out at 9:15 am.

In earnings, Lowe's shares were off about 1.2 percent premarket after the company's third quarter earnings beat estimates but the company cut its full-year outlook, a recurring theme in this quarter's retail earnings reports. Target also is reporting earnings before the bell.