US stocks were poised for lackluster start to Tuesday's session as positive quarterly earnings from Goldman Sachs failed to inspire much confidence about upcoming results from a slew of other major corporations.
As of 6 am ET, the Dow Futures were down 20 points, while the S&P Futures and the NASDAQ Futures were hugging the unchanged line.
On Monday, the Dow closed down 25.57 points or 0.3 percent at 8,057.81, while the Nasdaq closed up 0.77 points or 0.1 percent at 1,653.31 and the S&P 500 closed up 2.17 points or 0.3 percent at 858.73. Stocks have closed higher for five consecutive weeks after a dismal start to 2009.
Retail sales data highlights the economic calendar on Tuesday, with the report scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect the report to show that retail sales rose 0.3 percent in March.
At the same time, producer production data for March will also be made public. At 10 a.m. ET, business inventories data for February is set for release.
Goldman Sachs said Monday after the markets closed that first quarter profit rose from last year, helped by strong revenue growth in its fixed income, currency and commodities businesses. The company also said it has commenced a $5 billion public offering of its common stock, which along with additional resources, may be used to repay TARP funds.
Apparel retailer Talbots, Monday reported a wider net loss for the fourth quarter, hurt by slumping demand amid customers due to the worsening economic conditions. The company also said it is not providing fiscal 2009 annual guidance, blaming the substantial volatility and continued uncertainty in U.S. economic conditions. Following the news, the company's shares lost more than 15% in the after-hours trading.
Australia's largest airline Qantas Airways Ltd. (QUBSF.PK: News , QAN.AX) slashed fiscal 2009 profit before tax outlook by about 80% and added that it would eliminate up to 1,750 jobs, citing the impact of the economic downturn on its international business and freight services.
Healthcare major Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is due to announce first-quarter results today, with analysts projecting earnings of $1.22 per share on revenues of $15.47 billion. While announcing fourth-quarter results, the company said it expects fiscal 2009 earnings in the range of $4.45-$4.55 per share, excluding the impact of special items.
From the world's biggest chipmaker Intel Corp. (INTC), which is scheduled to release first-quarter results after market close today, analysts are expecting earnings of $0.02 per share on revenues of $6.98 billion for the quarter. In early January, Intel has raised the possibility of reporting a loss for the first quarter, Bloomberg reported, citing an internal memo of the company.
President Barack Obama is expected to pick Fannie Mae Chief Executive Herb Allison to head the government's $700 billion financial-rescue program, reports Wall Street Journal on Monday.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said Obama administration could announce his plans to nominate Allison as assistant secretary for the office of financial stability as early as this week. He would replace Neel Kashkari, who was asked by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to stay on until a replacement was found.
Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region ended higher on Tuesday, the Nikkei bucked the trend and ended in negative territory, dragged down by property stocks.
European shares were higher in early trading.
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