Stocks are looking to open lower again on Tuesday, as investors continue to see little in the broader markets that gives them a reason to buy in, fearing that the continued swine flu threat and some mixed corporate news is being taken in a poor light.
In earnings news, drug giant Pfizer Inc. (PFE) has released its financial results for the first-quarter, reporting net income of $0.40 per share, compared to $0.41 per share in the prior year period.
Pfizer said its adjusted income for the quarter fell to $0.54 per share from $0.61 per share last year. On average, analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.49 per share.
Quarterly revenues for Pfizer fell to $10.9 billion from $11.9 billion in the same quarter last year. Wall Street analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $11.1 billion.
In other news, regulators have urged Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) to raise more capital based on early results of the government's analysis, the Wall Street Journal reported. The two banks are reportedly planning to respond with detailed denials.
The Journal said that the capital shortfall amounts to billions of dollars at Bank of America. The report specified that executives at both banks are objecting to the preliminary findings from the government's examination of 19 large financial institutions.
Meanwhile, despite only a minor increase in the number of confirmed cases of swine flu, the World Health Organization has raised the level of influenza pandemic alert to phase 4. At the same time, the WHO does not recommend that countries close borders or restrict travel.
After meeting until 10:30 p.m. in Geneva, the WHO's emergency committee also recommended abandoning efforts to contain the flu's spread.
Because the virus is already quite widespread in different locations, containment is not a feasible option, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the organization's deputy director general.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve will begin their two-day meeting today, although little is expected to come out of the meeting, as the interest rate has already been lowered to a near zero range.
In economic news, the Conference Board is scheduled to release its consumer confidence report for April at about 10 am ET. The report, which is based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households, is expected to show that the consumer confidence index rose to 29.9 in April.
After seeing some uncertainty for most of Monday's trading session, stocks ultimately closed well below the unchanged line. The lower close came as traders expressed concerns about the economic impact of the swine flu outbreak.
The major averages moved in and out of negative territory over the course of the morning but remained stuck in the red throughout the afternoon. The Dow eventually ended the session down more than 50 points.
Crude oil futures are falling $0.71 to $49.43 a barrel after declining $1.41 to $50.14 a barrel in Monday's session. Meanwhile, gold futures are receding $10 at $898.20 an ounce. In the previous session, the precious metal slipped $5.90 to $908.20 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 96.185 yen, weaker than the 96.765 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. The greenback is currently valued at $1.3024 versus the euro.
Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed considerably lower amid continued concerns about the economic impact of the swine flu outbreak. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index showed a notable decline, closing down 2.7 percent.
The major European averages are also moving to the downside, with the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index receding 2.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is declining 2.2 percent.
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