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Futures Edge Lower as Dollar Gains Strength

Stock index futures are pointing to a narrowly lower opening as investors started to show concern that a strengthening economy could boost interest rates.

Wall Street comes off two consecutive winning weeks as investors head towards what's likely to be the best year for the stock market since 2003. 2008 was one of the worst years in stock market history, but many investors point out that in mid-March, it still appeared that the market was on its way to another year of considerable losses.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will again command investor attention today, following his lengthy appearance at his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill last week. He'll speak to the Economic Club of Washington at noon New York time. New York Fed President William Dudley also has a public appearance his schedule today, though that doesn't come until after the markets close. He'll speak to a Columbia University audience at 5:45 pm.

As it did Friday, a strengthening dollar put pressure on stocks as the greenback hit a five-week high against the euro. Oil prices fell as well, dropping below $75 a barrel as OPEC ministers said they don't expect production levels to change and were comfortable with the current price levels.

Only one economic number is on the schedule for today and that doesn't come until 3 pm, when the government issues consumer credit figures for October. Economists think outstanding credit shrank by $10 billion during the month, compared with a drop of $14.8 billion in September.

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

According to published reports this morning, the government will announce that estimate losses from the TARP program should come in around $42 billion, or around $200 billion less than originally estimated. That news comes amid a report in the Financial Times that Citigroup is trying to persuade the government to let it pay back $20 billion in taxpayer funds. It wants to do so before a window to launch a share sale shuts next week.

Citi shares rose about 1 percent in premarket trading.

Also in banking, New York Community Bancorp jumped 11.5 percent premarket after the company said it will issue 60 million shares publicly. The comes in conjunction with its Friday's purchase of certain assets and deposits from AmTrust bank on Friday and will help bolster regulatory capital levels.

In technology, Sprint Nextel shares gained 4 percent after Barron's said the company's stock was undervalued and could rise as much as 50 percent as the subscriber base increases.

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