US stock index futures slipped on Tuesday as investors faced what is expected to be a lacklustre earnings season, while a batch of economic data was on tap for later in the morning, including retail sales and regional manufacturing.
Fiscal and monetary policy were also at the forefront of investors' minds. On Monday, President Barack Obama rejected any negotiations with Republicans over raising the US borrowing limit. The United States could default on its debt if Congress does not increase the borrowing limit.
File image. Credit: THE PHOTO HOLIC
Speaking separately on Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling. The central bank chairman also gave a cautiously optimistic outlook for US growth but no clear hints on when the Fed would curb its aggressive bond purchases.
Corporate earnings season picks up the pace this week and investors are bracing for disappointment. Analyst estimates for the quarter have fallen sharply since October. S&P 500 earnings growth is now seen up just 1.9 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Shares of Dell rose 3.8 percent to $12.76 in premarket trade the day after sources said the company is in talks with private equity firms on a potential buyout.
S&P 500 futures fell 4.8 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 16 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 6.75 points.
Homebuilder Lennar reported profit that beat expectations amid a jump in new home orders.
Reports on US retail sales and producer prices for December, as well as manufacturing activity in New York state for January were due at 8:30 am ET (15:30 SA time). Business inventories for November will be released at 10:00 am ET. - Reuters