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Futures Mixed After Housing Data; HP Skids

CNBC.com
Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012 | 9:23 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures were narrowly mixed Tuesday, after rallying nearly 2 percent in the previous session, following a credit downgrade of France by ratings agency Moody's, a better-than-expected housing starts report, and a surprising writedown from Hewlett-Packard.

Stocks logged their biggest rally in two months in the previous session, boosted by optimism for a "fiscal cliff" deal, a series of tax and spending changes next year that could push the economy into recession.

On the economic front, housing starts gained 3.6 percent to a seasonally-adjusted 894,000, hitting its highest rate in more than four years, according to the Commerce Department. Meanwhile, permits slipped 2.7 percent.

Among earnings, H-P reported earnings that beat expectations, but only after excluding a huge accounting charge relating to allegations of fraud tied to the acquisition of its Autonomy software unit. Shares plunged sharply in pre-market trading to their lowest level since October 2002.

Best Buy tumbled after the troubled consumer-electronics retailer posted earnings that badly missed previously-lowered estimates, while revenue was slightly better than expectations.

Campbell Soup declined after the canned soup maker posted lower quarterly earnings, hurt by charges related to its recent acquisition of Bolthouse Farms, but it reaffirmed its full-year forecast.

Checking Market Pulse
Discussing the market's next direction, with Brian Peery, Hennessy Focus 30 Fund; Rob Morgan, Fulcrum Securities; and Gordon Charlop, Rosenblatt Securities.

Salesforce.com is scheduled to post earnings after the closing bell.

European shares edged lower after ratings agency Moody's Investor Service stripped France of its triple-A credit rating and placed it on negative outlook. Markets saw Moody's move as heightening the risk of other triple-A-rated countries such as Germany and the U.S. being downgraded.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak on "the economic recovery and economic policy" at the Economic Club of New York at 12:15 pm ET.

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

Coming Up This Week:

TUESDAY: Richmond Fed's Lacker speaks, Bernanke speaks at the Econ. Club of New York, Kindle Fire HD w/4G LTE ships; Earnings from Salesforce.com
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, jobless claims, PMI manufacturing index flash, consumer sentiment, leading indicators, oil inventories; Earnings from Deere
THURSDAY: Happy Thanksgiving! - Markets closed
FRIDAY: Black Friday - NYSE closes at 1pm ET / CME closes at 1:15pm ET

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