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Stock Futures Slip as Washington Ruckus Unsettles Investors

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were weakening Monday as encouraging data from Europe and China were offset by jitters about a government shutdown as Republicans clamor for cuts to federal healthcare funding. The Senate meets today to discuss a House bill aimed at de-funding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 3.25 points, or 3.31 points below fair value, to 1,699.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 21 points, or 18.91 points above fair value, to 15,382. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 10 points, or 10.32 points above fair value, to 3,226.5.

Citigroup ( C) has suffered a significant decline in trading revenue that threatens to depress its earnings, The Financial Times reported, citing to people familiar with conversations between investors and the bank in recent days. Shares were off 2.48% to $49.94.

Apple ( AAPL) shares were gaining 3.7% to $484.77 after the company announced that it sold more than 9 million iPhone 5c and 5s units, breaking the previous record set last year. A year earlier, Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5 units across the globe.

Major U.S. stock markets finished Friday's trading session in the red Friday but were able to eke out a third week of gains after the S&P 500 was driven to fresh all-time highs in the middle of week on the Federal Reserve's surprise decision Wednesday to keep its current $85 billion a month bond-buying program in tact. Enthusiasm turned out to be short-lived as investors retreated to the sidelines on a host of uncertainties heading into the coming, data heavy week.

"Despite many attractive-looking microgroups and stocks, saber-rattling in Washington is likely a near-term overhang," Craig Johnson, senior technical research strategist at Piper Jaffray said in a note. However, Johnson said he continues to believe this bull market has more room to run as near-term economic uncertainty fades. "We recommend investors stay long the strongest relative strength sectors (industrial manufacturing, financials, consumer cyclicals and technology," he added. "We remain long-term bulls on this market and believe we will see all-time new highs before the end of 2013." He reiterates his year-end 2013 price objective of 1,850 and 2014 price objective of 2,000 on the S&P 500.

In overseas headlines, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union emerged victorious during Germany's elections over the weekend, though her coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party, failed to clear the 5% threshold for federal parliament representation. UBS economist Paul Donovan said in a note that a new coalition is "unlikely to offer radical changes to euro policies."

Meanwhile, China's HSBC flash manufacturing PMI showed that Chinese manufacturing activity reached a six-month high, while Markit's flash eurozone purchasing manager's composite output index achieved a 27-month high.

The U.S. flash manufacturing PMI report from Markit Economics was set to be published Monday morning. It provides the first preview of national manufacturing activity so far this month.

A number of Fed officials were due to speak Monday. Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart speaks in New York at 9:20 a.m. New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley will give a speech in New York at 9:30 a.m. Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher will speak on banking and too-big-to-fail in San Antonio at 1:30 p.m.

The DAX in Germany was down 0.07% while the FTSE 100 was down 0.22%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng was down 0.56%. The Japan stock market was closed for a public holiday.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 1/32, diluting the yield to 2.731%. The dollar was down 0.03% to $80.41 according to the U.S. dollar index.

December gold futures were falling $12.40 to $1,320.10 an ounce while November crude oil futures were rising 16 cents to $104.91 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.>

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