U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 41 mins

Futures Lift as Larger Deficit Talks Could Be Pushed Back

John Darsie

US stock futures now point to a slightly higher open Friday morning as the Wall Street Journal reports the White House may look to replace spending cuts and push most deficit reduction talks off until the middle of 2013. Earlier in the morning futures were lower as the fiscal cliff negotiations are set to begin between President Obama and Congressional leaders. The market has been under pressure since the election amid fears that a stalemate would trigger $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts that could plunge the US economy back into recession. The major indices are down around 2% for the week.

In addition to problems at home, there is nearly a geopolitical worry for each continent. Europe's debt crisis continues as Greece seeks another round of aid. In the Middle East, Israel and Palestinians in Gaza appear on the brink of full-out war. And in China, uncertainty exists over the nation's leadership transition.

While the market was able to stop the bleeding yesterday afternoon, the action remains very heavy. All major indices are below their 200-day moving averages and leading stocks continue to break down. Apple (AAPL) most notably can't seem to sustain any kind of bounce. Yesterday it broke lower out of its mini lower range and broke key support around $528.66. AAPL looks set to open around that level this morning, and it will be important to see whether it reclaims it.

3-D printing company 3-D Systems (DDD) will respond today to recent articles questioning its accounting practices, insisting that all filings are accurate and up to date. After breaking out to new highs two weeks ago, the stock pulled in sharply follow the reports. The stock is up sharply pre-market, and traders will be watching it for a potential bounce.

Dell (DELL) is down around 1.9% pre-market after a mediocre earnings report last night. PC sales plunged and the company reported a 50% drop in profits. The move to smaller devices like tablets and smartphones as hampered PC-based businesses, and Dell, like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has struggled to cope with the shift.

Take it slow on options expiration Friday as we could see some pinning action. Today would be a good day to get started on our Free Online Trading Course!

*DISCLOSURES: Mike Lee has no positions