Stock Futures Point to Weaker Open

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were dipping Wednesday as investors remained pessimistic over the outcome of the U.S. budgetary debate in Washington and ahead of U.S. economic data, including the new-home sales report for October.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 33 points, or 23.13 points below fair value, at 12,829. Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 5.20 points, or 4.43 points below fair value, at 1392. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 6.75 points, or 6.07 points below fair value, at 2634.

The major U.S. stock averages fell Tuesday amid lingering concerns over the progress of budget talks on Capitol Hill.

The rhetoric around the so-called fiscal cliff heated up again with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid quoted as saying he was disappointed with how the talks have proceeded so far and reasserted that the Democrats won't agree to anything less than the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts for the higher income tax bracket.

Also, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the both sides "remain at an impasse" with just three more weeks left until the Christmas break.

BNP Paribas economists said in a note that "although the latest rhetoric is unhelpful, it is not surprising as both parties jockey to get the most favorable deal. However, we remain optimistic that a deal will be reached before year-end that will defer the bulk of the fiscal cliff."

However, the BNP economists added that the base effects and ongoing uncertainty over the fiscal cliff and the near-term impact of Hurricane Sandy are likely to leave investment growth negative in the fourth quarter.

"After the fiscal cliff, it's going to be the debt ceiling, so there's always going to be these potential issues on our forefront ... there's always these continuing issues," said Brian Peery, co-portfolio manager at Hennessy Funds. "So I think right now the American public is just so disappointed that they're acting more like children than like Congressmen and I think if we can just turn that situation around and have our politicians looking really for our best interest as a country, I think everybody will feel a lot better about it."

The Census Bureau is expected by economists to report that new-home sales rose to an annual pace of 390,000 in October from 389,000 in September. The report is expected at 10 a.m. EST.

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book report on economic conditions in October across the federal districts will be released at 2 p.m.

The FTSE 100 in London was slipping by 0.31% on Wednesday, while the DAX in Germany was down by 0.43% amid uncertainties over the U.S. fiscal cliff and debt ceiling and skepticism about Greece's debt deal.

Japan's Nikkei average settled lower by 1.22% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished off by 0.62% as worries persisted that a fall by the U.S. over the fiscal cliff could help tip the world economy into a recession.

Gold for December delivery was off $7.50 at $1,734.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while January crude oil contracts were off 74 cents at $86.44.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 4/32, diluting the yield to 1.626%. The dollar was up 0.04%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMCR) blew past Wall Street's expectations in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Shares were surging more than 21% in premarket trading.

American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO) shares were jumping more than 6% after the Pittsburgh-based teen apparel and accessories retailer hiked its full-year outlook to $1.38 to $1.40 a share from its previous outlook of $1.33 to $1.36 a share as it posted better-than-expected third-quarter results.

American Eagle posted third-quarter earnings of 43 cents a share on revenue of $910 million as comparable-store sales increased 10% amid improved product costs and lower markdowns, and strength in Thanksgiving weekend sales. The company was expected by analysts Wednesday to post third-quarter profit of 39 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $873.3 million.

Fresh Market ( TFM) shares were tumbling by more than 16% amid some concerns about the company's full-year guidance. Fresh Market posted third-quarter profit that was in line with expectations.

Microsoft ( MSFT) sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the month since its launch, exceeding the sales rate of Windows 7 three years ago, according to Reuters.

Shares were up 0.26%.

Costco Wholesale ( COST), the warehouse retailer, plans to pay a special dividend of $7 a share, or about $3 billion.

Costco also said Wednesday that first-quarter sales jumped 10%.

Shares were popping more than 4%.

Virtu Financial has emerged as the early front-runner to buy Knight Capital Group ( KCG)in a deal expected to value the brokerage firm at more than $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed about the continuing sale talks.

Knight's board is expected to get takeover offers as early as this week from Virtu and Getco, two high-speed trading firms.

Knight Capital shares were soaring by 14%.

Apple ( AAPL) reportedly fired William Richardson, the tech giant's senior director of iOS services, over the failure of its new Maps app. Richardson was fired before Thanksgiving.

Shares were down 0.9%.

Groupon ( GRPN) co-founder Andrew Mason could be on his way out as CEO, according to a report from AllThingsD, which cited unnamed sources. .

Shares of the daily deals site were gaining over 5%.

PVH ( PVH), the owner of brands such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, said Tuesday that fiscal third-quarter profit rose 47%.

Shares were up 0.65%.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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

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