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Alcoa Dents Stock Index Futures

Stock index futures pointed to a lower start for Wall Street on Tuesday, after Alcoa disappointed investors with its latest earnings report.

The Dow component earned a penny a share, excluding one-time items, for its latest quarter, compared to estimates of 6 cents. Alcoa's report is considered the traditional kickoff of quarterly earnings.

Alcoa shares tumbled 6 percent in premarket trading.

Stocks are coming off a mixed session, though the S&P 500 did keep its 2010 record perfect by chalking up its sixth straight gain. The broad index is off to its best start since 1987.

Another Dow component in the news is No. 1 retailer Wal-Mart , which is closing 10 of its underperforming Sam's Club stores and cutting 1,500 jobs. Shares fell 1 percent premarket.

Infosys Technologies raised its profit outlook as India's second-biggest software services exporter benefiting from the improved global economy. US-traded shares of Infosys gained 3.5 percent premarket.

MGM Mirage shares jumped 5 percent premarket after Goldman Sachs upgraded the company to a "buy."

KKR Financial shares fell 7 percent after the San Francisco-based bank said charges could cause it to lose as much as 5 cents a share, against analyst estimates of a 27-cent profit and last year's 42-cent profit.

The earnings calendar is relatively light, but does include reports from supermarket chains Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company and Supervalu as well as homebuilder KB Home .

Just one government report on the economic calendar this morning: that comes at 8:30 am New York time, when we'll get the U.S. trade balance for November. Economists expect a trade deficit of $34.7 billion for the month, compared to a shortfall of $32.9 billion the prior month.

Investors will also be keeping track of two Fed speakers, though both will speak well after today's closing bell. Both Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser have dinnertime speaking engagements.

There are several pieces of oil-related news. Kuwait is calling current oil prices "fantastic" and saying it sees no need for any change in production when OPEC meets in March.

And the government reports gasoline prices are at their highest since October 2008, and up 97 cents a gallon from a year ago.

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

Real estate website Trulia.com reports fewer U.S. home sellers cut listing prices in December, the second straight month of declines. It says buyers were rushing to beat both rising interest rates and the expiration of the first-time home buyers tax credit.

And Cadburycontinues to be consistent, once again rejecting a takeover bid by Kraft Foods , again using the term "derisory" to describe the offer. Cadbury fell 0.7 percent premarket.

- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.

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