(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a lower opening on the Wall Street as investors digested some mixed economic readings and await earnings reports from major banks. Worries about discussions to increase the government's debt ceiling also dented sentiment.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures dropped 43 points to 13,390. The Nasdaq futures shed 8 points to 2,720.75. Standard and Poor's 500 futures slid 6.10 points to 1,458.20.
"The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending," President Barack Obama spoke at a White House news conference. "Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending."
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported December retail sales and core retail sales rose 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Retail sales topped economists expectations of a 0.2 percent rise, while core sales came in line. Core retail sales measures the change in the total value of sales at the retail level in the U.S., excluding automobiles.
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Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department said core producer price index last month rose 0.1 percent, matching economists expectations. The headline index declined 0.2 percent, versus estimate of a fall of 0.1 percent.
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that conditions for New York manufacturers continued to drop at a modest pace and was negative for a sixth straight month. The New York Federal Reserve's empire state manufacturing index tumbled to negative 7.8 in January from negative 7.3 in December, while economists expected a reading of positive 2.0.
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U.S. earnings gathers steam with major banks such as Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup (C) reporting their results this week. General Electric Co. (NYSE), Intel Corp. (INTC) and eBay Inc. (EBAY) are also due to post their quarterly numbers in the unfolding week.
On Monday, U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note as Apple Inc. (AAPL) retreated amid reports it reduced orders for iPhone components and investors await earnings reports from major banks.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: DELL, LULU, LEN, FRX, COOL, RSH
In corporate news, Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) gained 4.07 percent amid rumors that the PC maker is discussing going private with two buyout firms.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) tumbled 7.03 percent after the maker of athletics and yoga apparel forecast fourth-quarter revenue below market expectations.
Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) may be in focus after the homebuilder posted a jump in quarterly earnings, helped by sharp rise in revenue, increased deliveries and stronger gross margins.
Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: FRX) slipped to a quarterly loss mainly due to sales lost after the expiration of Lexapro's patent exclusivity in March 2012, and the company expects 2013 results at the low end of its prior outlook.
RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) jumped 7.36 percent in premarket after the maker of electronic equipments said it is ending its mobile partnership with Target (TGT).
Majesco Entertainment Co. (NASDAQ: COOL) tumbled 30.19 percent after the gaming software company reported a quarterly loss and offered a downbeat guidance amid declining sales of core products on legacy platforms.
European markets traded mixed, with Germany's DAX down 0.48 percent to trade at 7,693.17. France's CAC40 fell 0.20 percent to trade at 3,700.65. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 inched up 0.05 percent to trade at 6,110.71.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index advanced 0.60 percent to close at 2,325.68. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.72 percent to finish at 10,879.08. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.14 percent to end at 23,381.51. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.38 percent higher at 19,981.68.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures declined 0.51 percent to $93.60 per barrel. Gold futures advanced 0.65 percent to $1,679.90 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.40 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3328, and the British pound dropped 0.14 percent to 1.6055. The dollar tumbled 1.01 percent against the Japanese yen to 88.5800.