Stock Futures Fall Amid China Banking Concerns, Caterpillar Weakness

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a pullback from new highs and a five-session advance as China, the world's second-largest economy, showed signs of economic instability and Caterpillar (CAT), the construction and mining equipment leader, reported a quarterly profit that fell short of expectations.

Futures for the S&P 500 were slumping 8.75 points, or 8.27 points below fair value, to 1,740.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were sinking by 61 points, or 64.66 points below fair value, to 15,337. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 17.5 points, or 19.83 points below fair value, to 3,339.

China concerns weighed on international markets and U.S. stock futures as the country revealed a tripling of write-offs in bad bank loans and as short-term money rates in China spiked amid signs that the central bank could tighten liquidity in order to temper inflation.

Nearly 40 S&P 500 components were expected to report their earnings on Wednesday.

Caterpillar was sinking by 4.62% to $85.05 after the Peoria-based company's net income for the third-quarter missed analyst forecasts by 21 cents at $1.45 a share and slashed its full-year sales outlook. CEO Doug Oberhelman said that it has been a "difficult" year for Caterpillar, particularly in mining.

Boeing (BA) was jumping nearly 3% to $126.14 after the aerospace giant beat Wall Street earnings estimates, raised guidance and projected continuing growth in production of the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing said third-quarter earnings rose 16% on the strength of higher commercial aircraft deliveries.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) was slipping 1.23% to $49.12 even after the pharmaceutical company reported stronger-than-anticipated earnings driven by cancer and diabetes treatments, as it reiterated the company's previous 2013 earnings estimate of $1.70 to $1.78 a share.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) was rising 1.03% to $102.50 after the defense contractor boosted the company's full-year outlook as third-quarter earnings of $1.97 a share exceeded the Wall Street consensus by 15 cents and revenue beat expectations.

A number of economic releases were released before the market open. September import prices, excluding the oil component, ticked up 0.1% after being down 0.2% the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Mortgage Bankers' Association's seasonally adjusted weekly purchase applications index showed a small rise of 1% in the week of Oct. 18 after slipping 5% in the preceding week.

The FTSE in London was down 0.48% and the DAX in Germany was off 0.42%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished behind by 1.95% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng closed off by 1.36%.

December crude oil contracts were down $1.12 to $97.18 a barrel and December gold futures were falling $10.60 to $1,332 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 4/32, diluting the yield to 2.499%. The dollar was up 0.1% to $79.31 according to the U.S. dollar index. Markets broke fresh highs on Tuesday after a weak jobs report fueled speculation the Federal Reserve will maintain the monetary stimulus measures that have helped boost equities to their biggest gains in 16 years.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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