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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 debates in Washington and ahead of U.S. economic data, including the new-home sales report.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 14 points, or 4.13 points below fair value, at 12,848. Futures for the S&P 500 were falling nearly 2 points, or 1.14 points below fair value, at 1395. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 5.75 points, or 5.07 points below fair value, at 2635.

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 0.27% on Wednesday, while the DAX in Germany was down by 0.19%. Japan's Nikkei average settled behind by 1.22% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished off by 0.62%.