US stock-index futures hesitate

Stock-Market-NewsU.S. stock-index futures fluctuated around 0% change as investors waited for the beginning of the earnings-reporting season and weighed the impact of the government shutdown.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December rose less than 0.1% to 1,668.3 at 7:09 a.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge for U.S. equities slumped 0.9% yesterday to a four-week low as lawmakers remained deadlocked over extending the nation’s debt limit to avoid a default. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 7 points, or less than 0.1%, to 14,844 today.

“Everyone is focusing on the politicians, and last night we saw a slight improvement in negotiations among Republicans and Democrats. It’s nothing close to a final solution, but still a slight improvement,” said Henrik Drusebjerg, strategist at Nordea, cited by The Wall Street Journal.

Lawmakers began taking the first steps toward raising the U.S. debt limit despite disagreements between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders grew even more. Senate Democrats are planning a test vote before the end of this week on a measure that would grant Obama authority to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, probably for a year unless two-thirds of both chambers of Congress disapprove.

In corporate news, Amazon climbed 0.5% to $311.45 after defeating International Business Machines Corp.’s effort to reopen bidding for a CIA cloud-computing contract. The judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington granted Amazon’s request for judgment on the administrative record following a hearing yesterday, according to a minute order posted on the court’s electronic docket.

IBM slipped less than 0.1% to $181.97 in German trading.

AT&T added 0.4% to $33.70 in early New York trading. The company is in talks with America Movil to enter the European telecommunications market together, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, which cited unidentified people.

McKesson may be active. The San Francisco-based company is in advanced talks with majority shareholder Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH to buy German drug wholesaler Celesio for almost 22 euros a share, Dow Jones reported, citing unidentified people.

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