Stock index futures down; earnings eyed

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a weaker open on Wall Street on Tuesday, with futures for the S&P 500, for the Dow Jones and for the Nasdaq 100 down 0.1-0.2 percent.

* The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee begins its two-day meeting on interest-rate policy. The Fed, in a statement due around 2:15 p.m. EST on Wednesday, was widely expected to acknowledge improving economic conditions marked by signs of life among consumers and factories.

* At 7:45 a.m. EST, ICSC/Goldman Sachs will release chain store sales for the week ended January 22, versus the prior week. In the previous week, sales fell 0.1 percent.

* BlackRock Inc , the world's largest asset manager, is expected to report healthy gains in fourth quarter profit and revenue on Tuesday, aided in no small measure by the global stock market rally.

* Other major companies to report results on Tuesday include Yahoo , Johnson & Johnson , DuPont

, 3M Company and Harley-Davidson .

* At 8:55 a.m. EST, Redbook releases its Retail Sales Index of department and chain store sales for January versus December. In the prior period, sales were down 0.6 percent.

* Britain is to give News Corp a final chance to avoid a prolonged and costly investigation into its proposed $12 billion buyout of BSkyB , in a move that is likely to draw criticism from rivals.

* At 9 a.m. EST Standard & Poor's is set to release its S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index for November. Economists expect a drop of 0.8 percent versus a 1.0 percent fall in the previous month.

* A package of U.S. tax cuts should give a lift to a global economic recovery that had already begun to gain speed late last year, the IMF said as it revised its world growth forecast higher.

* At 10 a.m. EST, the Federal Housing Finance Agency issues Home Price Index for November. In October, the index rose 0.7 percent.

* Also at 10 a.m. EST the Conference Board releases January consumer confidence. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 54.3 compared with 52.5 in December.

* Resource-related stock will be in focus, with U.S. oil falling for a second straight session as an expected rise in U.S. stocks and a weak technical outlook weighed on prices.

* The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was flat in morning trade after gaining earlier in the session, while Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> ended 1.2 percent firmer.

* On Monday the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> ended up 108.68 points, or 0.92 percent, at 11,980.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 7.49 points, or 0.58 percent, at 1,290.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 28.01 points, or 1.04 percent, at 2,717.55.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Sophie Walker)

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