* Congress returns to work, investors want cliff progress
* Home Depot rises in premarket after results, outlook
* S&P bounces near 200-day moving average
* Futures down: Dow 49 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 15.25 pts
(Updates prices, adds comment)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Nov 13 U.S. stock index futures fell
on Tuesday amid investor concern about the looming U.S. "fiscal
cliff" debate and how a lack of agreement in Congress could hurt
the nation's economy.
Equities have been pressured in recent sessions by worries
over the cliff - a series of budget cuts and tax hikes that will
start to take effect in the new year. Market participants worry
that if no deal is reached to avoid going over the cliff, the
economy could fall back into recession.
Concerns over the fiscal discussions contributed to the
S&P's losses last week, the worst week for the index since June.
On Monday, the index staged a modest rebound but only ended up
0.1 percent, off its highs of the session.
"Stocks will be stuck where they are until we get some kind
of resolution on this, and if we don't get something done,
people will be even more disenchanted with equities than they
are now," said Art Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital
Markets in New York.
U.S. lawmakers return to the capital Tuesday with a
seven-week deadline to reach agreement over the cliff, and while
most analysts expect some kind of deal will be forged, concerns
remain. Barclays on Tuesday cut its year-end target for the S&P
500 to 1,325 from 1,395, saying there was "little basis to
believe a grand compromise is in the offing."
Home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc rose 0.7
percent to $61.60 in premarket trading after the Dow component
reported earnings that beat expectations and raised its outlook.
"Home Depot has two things going for it - an improvement in
the housing sector and the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane
Sandy," Hogan said. "That's a backdrop where the company is very
S&P 500 futures fell 7 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 49
points and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 15.25 points.
The S&P index hovered around its 200-day moving average
after last week, closing below the level for the first time in
five months. An extended run below it could signal further
The S&P 500 is still up about 10 percent for 2012, despite
losses in recent weeks. The Nasdaq has fallen for five straight
AK Steel Holding Corp shares fell 7.5 percent to
$5.05 in trading before the bell after forecasting a
Cisco Systems and TJX Companies are also on
tap to report. With 90 percent of S&P 500 companies having
reported, 63 percent have beaten expectations.
The executive most widely tipped to be the next chief
executive of Microsoft Corp, Steven Sinofsky, has left
the world's largest software maker barely two weeks after
launching the flagship Windows 8, as CEO Steve Ballmer moved to
tighten his grip on the company.
U.S. stocks closed little changed Monday, with investors
limiting bets ahead of the fiscal cliff negotiations. Volume was
light, with the U.S. bond market and government offices closed
for Veterans Day.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)