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Stock Futures Fall Amid Budget Jitters, J.C. Penney Plunges

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were edging lower Friday as investors awaited a consumer sentiment report and remained jittery about the ongoing budget negotiations in Washington.

Lawmakers must agree to an emergency budget deal by Monday in order to allow key federal government services to continue running through Dec. 15 from the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. It's estimated that a U.S. government shutdown could reduce economic growth in the fourth quarter by up to 1.4 percentage points.

Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 6.5 points, or 5.62 points below fair value, to 1,686. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 44 points, or 31.30 points below fair value, to 15,217. Futures for the Nasdaq were dipping 11 points, or 10.39 points below fair value, to 3,215.

J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) was plunging 7.49% to $9.65 in premarket trading. The company is looking to raise more than $800 million in equity as the struggling department store chain looks to build up its cash reserves heading into the holiday season. J.C. Penney shares have had a rocky week, down 20% since last Friday. On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs credit analysts issued a report initiating an "underperform" rating on the company's debt. The analysts said they had concerns about the company's liquidity.

Zoltek (ZOLT) was slumping more than 11% to $16.42. Japanese carbon fiber producer Toray Industries on Friday agreed to buy U.S. rival Zoltek for $584 million to grab more of the market as demand increases. Tokyo-based Toray said it would pay $16.75 per share for Zoltek. Although the deal is a 2% premium to the stock's Wednesday close, it's a 10% discount on Zoltek's Thursday close following a report of the impending deal.

At 9:55 a.m., the final September estimate on University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is expected to come in at 78 versus 76.8 in the preliminary reading.

Ahead of the report, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that personal income rose by an as expected 0.4% in August following an upwardly revised 0.2% gain in July. Meanwhile personal spending edged up by an as predicted 0.3% following an upwardly revised 0.2% increase.

The data was to be interspersed with appearances from Federal Reserve officials. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren was scheduled to make opening remarks to a New York Fed payments conference in New York at 8:30 am. And at 2 p.m., New York Fed President William Dudley is expected to give a speech on the economy in Syracuse, N.Y.

Major U.S. stock markets rebounded Thursday after a five-day losing streak for the S&P 500, its longest losing streak since December, as the latest jobless claims numbers provided a constructive read on the labor market ahead of next week's widely watched monthly government jobs report. There was also hope that Washington's fiscal drama will come to a halt even if it means an 11th-hour budget deal.

The DAX in Germany was slipping 0.44% while the FTSE 100 was falling 0.71%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed up 0.35% while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.26%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 4/32, lowering the yield to 2.637%.

December gold futures were slipping $3 to $1,333.20 an ounce while November crude oil futures were up 10 cents to $102.76 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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