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NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures are falling ahead of a report on retail sales during December, a critical period for the sector.

Dow Jones industrial futures are down 39 points to 13,394. The broader S&P futures have lost 5.9 points to 1,458.40. Nasdaq futures are down 8.25 points to 2,720.50.

Economists expect the Commerce Department to confirm that consumers eased back on spending as a fight in Washington heated up over the budget and the so-called fiscal cliff. Consumer confidence trailed off during December to its lowest point since August, according to the most recent report from the Conference Board.

Economists are forecasting that retail sales edged up 0.2 percent in December. The report will be released by the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. EST Tuesday.

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