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Stock Futures Fall on Eurozone, Fiscal Cliff Concerns


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were dropping Tuesday as eurozone and fiscal cliff jitters weighed on investor sentiment.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 52 points, or 36.16 points below fair value, at 12,728. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 6.99 points, or 4.99 points below fair value, at 1371. Futures for the Nasdaq were declining 16.25 points, or 14.17 points below fair value, at 2564.

The major U.S. stock averages finished flat Monday with investors mostly sticking to the sidelines after last week's big pullback following the U.S. presidential election.

The sideways trading came as upbeat trade data from China and a modest dose of M&A action was set against uncertainty about Greece's next round of bailout funds and budget talks coming up between Democratic and Republican congressional leaders.

U.S. lawmakers now have seven weeks to strike a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff -- a set of automatic federal tax increases and spending cuts set to occur in January -- a situation that could lead the country back into a recession.

Still "in the near term, the U.S. economy faces significant downside risks from the intensification of the fiscal restraint that is likely to occur even if policymakers resolve most of the 'fiscal cliff,'" warned Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs. "Under our baseline estimate for the shape of a fiscal agreement -- which involves an end to the payroll tax cut, an end to the upper-income Bush tax cuts, and various smaller forms of restraint -- fiscal policy at the federal, state, and local level will subtract around 1-3/4 percentage points from real GDP growth in the first half of 2013, roughly 1 percentage point more than in 2012."

Meanwhile, a meeting of eurozone finance ministers concluded without any concrete decisions on whether and when to unlock the next tranche of bailout money for Greece, though there was an agreement to give Greece two more years to fix its deficit.

"The meeting of finance ministers on Monday concluded in disarray on Monday while at the later press conference Mr. European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said Greece would be given two more years to get its deficit down to an agreed ratio to GDP, while Ms. International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde stated it would have to be 2020," noted Andrew Wilkinson, chief economist strategist at Miller Tabak. "The difference in two years reminds us somewhat of the difference between 35-and 39.6% marginal tax rates for U.S. higher income earners and yet again the difference of judgment is causing investor angst on Tuesday morning."

The U.S. calendar of major economic releases is relatively light Tuesday.

The International Council of Shopping Centers/Goldman Sachs report, released before the markets opened, showed same-store sales increasing 0.7% in the week ended Nov. 10 driven by restocking in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy. Sales rose at a soft rate of 1.8% year over year.