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Stock Futures Rise as Obama Prepares to Confront Congress

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures rose after yesterday's Christmas Day close, as investors await a showdown between President Obama and the Senate in tackling the so-called fiscal cliff.

The president aims to make progress five days before a deadline that would trigger tax increases and spending cuts, a combination that could put the economy into a recession. Congress will return Dec. 27, while Obama heads to Washington from a vacation in Hawaii today.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives balked last week at Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B," a compromise on raising taxes for the wealthy. The move was seen as Boehner losing control of his party and his credibility. Now any talks will head to the Senate, though the House would have to sing off on any plan there.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 25 points to 13,090. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 3.2 points to 1,423. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 5 points to 2,653.75.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the Redbook, a measure of sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores, as well as the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index.

Gold for February delivery was down $1.50 at $1,658 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while February crude oil contracts were up 45 cents at $89.06 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was trading at 1.78%. The U.S. dollar index was at 79.64.

A stock to watch Wednesday is Netflix (NFLX). The company's video-streaming service suffered a Christmas Eve outage that continued into Christmas morning for some customers.

In Twitter posts, Netflix said problems at Amazon.com (AMZN) were the cause. Amazon provides Internet services to Netflix and other corporate customers.

Netflix shares were down 0.5% in pre-market trading.

Facebook (FB) was the most active stock in pre-market trading, rising 1.2%. Options traders are bullish on the stock after investment bank Needham & Co. raised its price target on its belief that mobile-revenue growth will be stronger than expected.

Apple (AAPL) was among the 10 most-active shares in pre-market trading today, though prices were little changed at $520.41. The gadget maker's stores were packed in the days leading up to Christmas, boding well for the holiday-shopping quarter.

Less fortunate was Microsoft (MSFT), whose stores were mostly empty. The shares were up 0.2% in pre-market trading.

-- Written by Parris Kellermann

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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