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US STOCKS – Futures edge down; energy in focus amid oil slump

NEW YORK, Nov 4 – U.S. stock index futures ticked lower on Tuesday, with investors taking a pause following a rally that has taken major indexes to repeated records, although a sharp decline in crude oil could weigh on energy shares.

* Both the Dow and S&P 500 inched up to intraday records in Monday’s session, but the indexes ended the day with slight losses. The quiet session followed the Dow’s biggest weekly gain since January 2013 and the S&P’s biggest two-week jump since December 2011.

* Energy companies will be in focus as U.S. crude futures slumped 2.7 percent to $76.69 per barrel after top oil exporter Saudi Arabia cut sales prices to the United States. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF fell 1.6 percent to $84.65 in premarket trading.

* While the broader market has rallied this year, energy has lagged. The S&P energy index is down 3.3 percent in 2014, the only one of the ten primary sectors that is negative on the year. This is the fourth straight day that crude has fallen, losing 6.7 percent over that period. It is down more than 30 percent from a recent closing peak.

* Also in focus is the U.S. midterm election. Investors appear less concerned with whether Republicans take control of the Senate, as expected, or Democrats hang on to their majority by a slim margin. However, volatility may spike if, come Wednesday morning, some races remain so close that the majority party in the Senate is not known.

* American International Group was flat at $53.80 in premarket trading the day after posting third-quarter earnings that beat expectations, bolstered in part by improved performance at core insurance operations.

* The market’s recent rally has largely come on strong corporate financial results, which have eased concerns about the pace of economic growth. With results in from 73 percent of companies, three-quarters have beaten analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63 percent.

* Sprint Corp lost 8.5 percent to $5.67 in premarket trading a day after posting revenue growth that was below consensus estimates.

* In the latest economic data, factory orders are seen falling 0.6 percent in September, compared with a record drop of more than 10 percent in August. September durable goods and the October read of the Institute for Supply Management’s New York index are also on tap, with all three datapoints coming out after the market opens.

Futures snapshot at 6:42:

* S&P 500 e-minis were falling 4.25 points, or 0.21 percent, with 136,924 contracts changing hands.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 7.25 points, or 0.17 percent, in volume of 22,148 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were down 26 points, or 0.15 percent, with 22,417 contracts changing hands.

In related news, GOP Senate takeover could boost sagging energy stocks.


(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)