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Stock Futures Flat Ahead of Debt Ceiling Vote, Apple Earnings


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were mixed Wednesday as the markets awaited a vote from Washington lawmakers on extending the debt ceiling temporarily, and received some upbeat earnings reports from a number of big tech and blue-chip companies.

McDonald's(MCD) and United Technologies (UTX) shares were edging higher after their announcements Wednesday. Both Google(GOOG) and IBM (IBM) shares were popping more than 4% in premarket trading after their fourth-quarter reports Tuesday evening.

Investors were also looking ahead to Apple's(AAPL) earnings after the markets close Wednesday.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 11 points, or 34.79 points above fair value, at 13,685. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2.25 points, or 0.11 points below fair value, at 1487. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 1.50 points, or 12.81 points above fair value, at 2752.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is widely expected to vote Wednesday on extending the debt ceiling out to May 19. The decision to temporarily suspend the spending limit is expected to occur between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. EST.

President Barack Obama indicated Tuesday that he would not oppose the plan, while U.S. Senator Harry Reid said he is happy to see the clean debt ceiling legislation in the House, and that it's a "big step in the right direction."

"The worst fears of a disorderly default ... early March won't come to pass apparently," said RBS strategists.

The economic calendar was very thin in the U.S. Wednesday.

The European markets were mostly wavering ahead of the U.S. debt ceiling vote. The FTSE in London was up 0.11% and the DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.01%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished down by 0.10%, and the Nikkei in Japan fell 2.08% as investors remained disappointed at the Bank of Japan's efforts to bolster the economy.

Gold for February delivery was falling $1.30 at $1,691.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures were up 7 cents at $96.75 a barrel.

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The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 1/32, diluting the yield up to 1.844%. The dollar was dipping by 0.19%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Apple(AAPL) , the iPod, iPhone and iPad maker, is expected by analysts Wednesday to post quarterly earnings of $13.43 a share on revenue of close to $55 billion.

Shares of the tech giant have fallen more than 20% over the past three months, which has prompted research firms to posit that there may be waning interest in Apple's products.

"The overwhelming problem with Apple has been that it's fallen under the curse of high expectations," said Jeffrey Sica, president and chief investment officer of Sica Wealth Management. "Although Apple was a strong company with great potential for growth, it was priced for perfection which meant that any setback would result in a significant sell off."