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Futures subdued as debt ceiling talks make little progress

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By Shreyashi Sanyal and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) – Wall Street futures were subdued on Tuesday after another round of inconclusive talks over increasing the U.S. debt limit, raising the spectre of an unprecedented default.

White House and congressional Republican negotiators will meet again later in the day to discuss how to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, with just nine days left for the deadline.

This comes after President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could not reach an agreement about the debt ceiling in their meeting on Monday, but vowed to keep talking.

“Debt ceiling talks are inching forward, but it’s slow progress, and with uncertainty hanging in the air, gains on equity markets are being held back,” Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown wrote in a note.

“If no agreement is reached, the U.S. could default on interest it owes on its debts, sending borrowing costs soaring and shockwaves through the global economy.”

Worries over the debt limit pushed yields on one-month Treasury bills to record highs at 5.888%. [US/]

Trading on the S&P 500 index has been stuck in a 30-point range in the last two sessions as U.S. debt ceiling talks linger, while a megacap-led bounce on the Nasdaq helped it close the previous day higher.

Investors also await S&P Global’s flash reading of the U.S. Composite PMI Index for May due later in the day. The Commerce Department’s April personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index reading, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, is due on Friday.

Megacaps were mixed in the early hours of Tuesday, with Microsoft Corp up 0.3% in premarket trading, while Meta Platforms Inc dipped 0.2%.

Lowe’s Companies Inc fell 1.5% after the retailer cut its annual comparable sales forecast, as demand dwindles for home improvement goods with high inflation forcing consumers to cut back on discretionary spending.

Shares of larger rival Home Depot slipped 0.2% in thin volumes.

At 6:46 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 20 points, or 0.06%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.5 points, or 0.04%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10 points, or 0.07%.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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