NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were falling Monday as earnings and an outlook from drug giant Merck (MRK) weighed on investor sentiment at a time when markets are near all-time highs.. Investors on Monday were also awaiting Apple (AAPL) earnings scheduled for after the market close and industrial production data.
Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1.5 points, or 1.62 points below fair value, to 1,752.5, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were shedding 13 points, or 19.28 points below fair value, to 15,484. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 0.5 points, or 1.48 points below fair value, to 3,374.3.
The Federal Reserve is expected to kick off its two-day policy meeting Tuesday. A tapering of the Fed's bond-buying program isn't expected to be announced given the economic uncertainties caused by the fiscal overhang and government shutdown in Washington earlier this month.
Markets on Friday finished a choppy week in positive territory, boasting three weeks of consecutive gains, after Amazon (AMZN), the world's largest online retailer, and shipping leader United Parcel Service (UPS) posted earnings that bolstered the outlook for the U.S. economic recovery. Meanwhile, a drop in consumer confidence fed speculation the Fed will delay curbing its equity-supportive stimulus program.
Merck (MRK) was shedding 2.56% to $45.35 in premarket trading after the companyposted a third-quarter net income decline of 35% from a year earlier as global sales slid 4% to $11 billion, reflecting the unfavorable impact of patent expirations and a 2% negative foreign exchange impact. Furthermore, worldwide sales of the combined diabetes franchise of Januvia decreased 1% to $1.4 billion in the quarter. Merck narrowed its 2013 non-GAAP earnings outlook to be between $3.48 a share and $3.52 a share.