After taking a substantial beating during the previous session, stocks are likely to regain some ground in early trading on Tuesday. The futures are currently indicating a notably higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures currently up about 80 points.
Bargain hunting is likely to contribute to any early strength in the markets, with traders using Monday's weakness as a buying opportunity. Nonetheless, buying interest may be somewhat subdued as investors await some economic news and look ahead to the G20 conference in London.
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which tracks changes in the value of residential real estate in 20 metropolitan regions, is scheduled to be released at 9 AM. Economists expect an 18.6 percent year-over-year decline in the 20-city composite house price index for January.
Additionally, the results of the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago's business survey for March are scheduled to be released at 9:45 AM ET. Economists expect the business barometer index based on the survey to come in at 34.4.
The Conference Board is also scheduled to release its consumer confidence report for March 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 edged up to 28.0 in March.
In other news, Obama will be leaving for the G20 meeting in London later today, but hopes that the countries will agree to a coordinated fiscal boost appear to have been crushed by skepticism in many European governments.
Meanwhile, in corporate news, homebuilder Lennar Corp. (LEN) reported a wider net loss for the first quarter, hurt by lower home deliveries combined with a drop in average sale price due to low consumer confidence, increased unemployment and growing foreclosures.
Lennar said its net loss for the quarter ended February 28, 2009 widened to $155.9 million from $88.2 million in the corresponding period last year. The loss per share widened to $0.98 from $0.56 per share in the same period last year.
Additionally, software giant Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) announced that it is discontinuing its MSN Encarta encyclopedia Web sites and will stop selling Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products. The move reflects a lack of sales amid the strong growth of Wikipedia and other free sites in the online reference market.
After moving sharply lower in early trading, stocks saw continued weakness throughout the trading day on Monday. The weakness in the markets came as investors responded to disappointing news regarding the auto industry.
While the major averages did not see much follow-through on their early downward move, they remained stuck firmly in negative territory. The Dow eventually ended the session down more than 250 points.
Crude oil futures are trading up $1.30 at $49.71 a barrel after receding $3.97 to $48.41 a barrel in Monday's session. Gold futures, which fell $7.60 to $917.70 an ounce in yesterday's session, are currently up $3.30 at $921 an ounce.
Among currencies, the U.S. dollar is trading at 98.507 yen, stronger than the 97.251 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is currently valued at $1.3328 compared to yesterday's $1.32.
In overseas trading, the major stocks markets in the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday. While Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.9 percent, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 255 Index fell 1.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are currently all moving higher. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is currently up 3.4 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are advancing 2.2 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
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