Stock Futures Dip as Macy's Misses

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were dipping Wednesday as investors awaited more information from the Federal Reserve on its timeline for tapering its massive stimulus bond-buying program amid continued mixed economic data, and retail bellwether Macy's ( M) dampened optimism with results indicating soft consumer confidence.

Data indicating that the euro-area economy was improving as a whole were unable to lift the market out of the lull.

Futures for the S&P 500 were off 3 points, or 3.16 points below fair value, to 1,687.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were shedding 25 points, or 26.01 points below fair value, to 15,386. Futures for the Nasdaq were off 1 point, or 3.56 points below fair value, to 3,136.

U.S. stocks gained Tuesday as a Federal Reserve official downplayed the possibility the central bank will curb asset purchases in September and billionaire investor Carl Icahn tweeted that he's taken a large position in Apple ( AAPL).

Inflation numbers looked subdued in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The producer price index (PPI) for last month came in flat vs. the expected rise of 0.3%. That's down from 0.8% in June. The core PPI stripping out food and energy costs came in up 0.1%, below the predicted 0.2% increase and the advance of 0.2% in the prior month.

Meanwhile the Mortgage Bankers Association's purchase applications index continued to point to weakness in home sales in the week of Aug. 10, adding to the three-month decline in the purchase applications index that has occurred amid rising rates. The report showed a of drop of 5% for last week.

St. Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard is expected to give remarks first at 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, then at 3:15 p.m.

Macy's ( M) was stumbling 3.48% to $46.81 in premarket trading after the department store chain slashed its full-year earnings guidance and posted second-quarter earnings of 72 cents a share on revenue of $6.07 billion, which missed the average analyst earnings estimate of 78 cents per share on sales of $6.26 billion, driven by consumers' continued worries about spending on discretionary items given the uncertainty of the economic environment.

U.S. Airways ( LCC), Delta Air Lines ( DAL), United Continental ( UAL) and AMR ( AAMRQ ) were also weighing on the market, slipping after analysts at JPMorgan slashed their views on these airline stocks to "neutral" on worries that the outlook for the airline industry is being threatened by the government's move to prevent the merger of AMR and U.S. Airways.

Heavy equipment maker Deere ( DE) was tacking on 0.7% to $84.50 after booking quarterly earnings of $2.56 a share vs. that average analyst estimate of $2.17 as revenues also exceeded expectations thanks to robust farm equipment sales results.

Cisco ( CSCO) is expected to report earnings of 51 cents a share after the market close, according to a Thomson Reuters survey of analysts.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 3/32, diluting the yield to 2.715%. The dollar was up 0.04% to $81.80 according to the U.S. dollar index.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.1%, while the DAX in Germany was rising 0.1%, hardly budging despite numbers indicating that the euro area's economy climbed out a prolonged recession in the second quarter spearheaded by improvements in Germany and France.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng finished ahead by 1.21% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up by 1.32%.

December gold futures were gaining $3.70 to $1,324.20 an ounce and September light sweet crude oil futures were losing 52 cents to $106.31 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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