Stock Futures Slip Amid Washington Fiscal Drama

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures took a downbeat tone Wednesday as the fiscal drama in Washington dragged on amid a fast-approaching Oct. 17 deadline for raising the nation's debt ceiling.

While the U.S. budget talks are expected to reach some kind of resolution allowing for a resumption of non-core government services in a couple of weeks or less, there were still jitters about a prolonged impasse that could hamper the economic recovery. Investors expressed concern that lawmakers could harden their positions forcing a gridlocked on the bigger issue of a debt ceiling.

Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 12 points, or 10.55 points below fair value, to 1,677.5. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were slumping 77 points, or 67.70 points below fair value, to 15,043. Futures for the Nasdaq were slipping 17 points, or 16.85 points below fair value, to 3,228.5.

Alcoa was dipping by 2.57% to $7.96 in premarket trading after Deutsche Bank analyst cut its shares to "sell" from "hold" citing a gloomy outlook for aluminum prices.

BlackBerry was down 0.76% to $7.86. The company said that it now expects to incur $400 million in pre-tax charges related to its restructuring program, through fiscal 2014 and the first quarter of fiscal 2015, up from its previous expectation of $100 million of such charges.

In economic reports, private payroll employment grew by a lower than expected 166,000 in September, according to payroll process Automatic Data Processing, versus the average economist expectation of 180,000. August's job gain was revised down to 159,000 from 176,000.

It's now expected the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report for September won't be released on Friday until the government resumes operations as usual.

Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren is expected to speak in Burlington, Vt., at 12 p.m., while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard are anticipated to give opening remarks at the St. Louis Fed's Community Banking Research Conference at 3 p.m.

The FTSE 100 in London was falling 0.83% and the DAX in Germany was behind by 0.57%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng finished up 0.55% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed down by 2.17%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 12/32, pushing the yield down to 2.612%. The dollar was falling 0.04% to $80.11 according to the U.S. dollar index.

December gold futures contracts were surging $8.30 to $1,294.40 an ounce, while November crude oil futures were down by 31 cents to $101.73 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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