Stock futures were slightly lower Tuesday on a lack of data that could move the needle on the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on whether to taper its $85-billion-a-month asset purchasing program. The market was also digesting comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard yesterday in which he suggested that improved key labor market indicators increase the likelihood of tapering. Bullard will be a voting member of the FOMC for the last time at the Dec. 17-18 meeting.
Meanwhile, U.S. regulators were due to introduce a ban on proprietary trading, known as the Volcker rule after former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, to limit banks' risk taking. The rule could take a significant bite out of bank's profits. At 9:30 a.m., the regulators are expected to unveil more details.
In equities, Nokia ( NOK ) slipped 2% before the market open after a report that the company's tax liabilities in India could be as high as $3.4 billion. Toll Brothers ( TOL ) added nearly 3% after fiscal Q4 earnings topped forecasts.
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