US stocks were looking to extend their sharp gains from the previous session Tuesday morning in New York, and early signals were mostly positive as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke prepared to testify on the economic outlook.
As of 6:15 am ET, the S&P Futures were up 1 point, the Nasdaq Futures were up 3 points, and the Dow Futures were up 15 points.
Stocks surged Monday, as traders reacted to the release of some better than expected economic data. The major averages extended the upward move seen last week, rising to multi-month closing highs.
The Dow closed up 214.33 points or 2.6 percent at 8,426.74, the Nasdaq closed up 44.36 points or 2.6 percent at 1,763.56 and the S&P 500 closed up 29.72 points or 3.4 percent at 907.24.
After a brutal start to the year, the Dow is down only 4 percent year-to-date, and down 35 percent from this time last year.
Bernanke is expected to testify on the improving economy before Congress' Joint Economic Committee Tuesday morning, but will likely warn that it may be some time before the economy gets back to normal.
Financial stocks have rallied of late, but could level off ahead of the release of the results of the stress tests the government is performing on the 19 largest U.S. banks, due Thursday.
Economic data is likely to remain in focus on Tuesday, with the Institute for Supply Management due to release its report on activity in the service sector in the month of April. Economists expect the index of activity in the sector to rise to 42.0 from 40.8 in March.
Swiss financial giant UBS AG, Tuesday, reported a significantly narrower net loss for the first quarter both year-on-year and sequentially. Looking ahead, the company said that the continued economic deterioration is expected to have negative implications for credit-related provisioning in coming quarters.
Communication equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent, Tuesday, reported a wider loss for the first quarter, hurt primarily by double-digit revenue declines in its Carrier and Enterprise segments. The Paris-based company also confirmed its adjusted operating profit outlook for fiscal 2009 and said it continues to expect the global telecommunications equipment and related services market to be down in the year.
Monday, casino operator MGM Mirage (MGM), reported a decline in the first-quarter profit from the year-ago period, primarily due to lower revenues across all its segments. Devoid of gain from property transactions, the company would have reported a net loss for the quarter.
Tuesday, Israeli generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, helped by 22% sales growth. However, sales fell short of analysts' estimate, impacted by a strengthening U.S. dollar.
Magna International, Inc. (MGA ,MG.A.TO), North America's largest auto parts maker, announced that it could buy a minority stake in Opel, the European unit of ailing automaker General Motors Corp. (GM: News ) and one of Magna's customers in Europe.
Electric utility Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) plans to report first-quarter results before the market opens. Wall Street analysts have a consensus earnings estimate of $0.32 per share, on revenues of $3.39 billion. In the year-ago period, the company reported earnings of $0.37 per share on revenues of $3.3 billion.
Walt Disney (DIS), Kraft Foods (KFT), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), CVS Caremark (CVS), and Tenet Healthcare (THC) are among those due to report on Tuesday.
Stocks in Asia finished the session higher, Japanese markets remained closed for holidays. In European trading, shares in London were higher in catch-up trading, while stocks in Paris and Frankfurt struggled.
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