After a massive rally in the previous session, stocks are likely to give back some ground in early trading on Tuesday. The downward momentum for the markets comes as traders are likely to do some profit taking after the major averages ended Monday's trading at one-month highs.
Not long after the open, trading is likely to be impacted by congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who are scheduled to speak before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 am ET.
The comments from Bernanke and Geithner are expected to provide at least some clarity about the bailout of AIG (AIG). Up to this point, AIG has been propped up by almost $200 billion dollars in taxpayer money.
In response to the recent uproar surrounding the bonuses for AIG employees, 15 of the retention bonus recipients from the beleaguered AIG's Financial Products unit have agreed to return the more than $30 million worth of payments in full.
Lawmakers may also question Geithner about the Obama administration's plan to help banks sell their toxic assets. The release of the details of the plan contributed to the rally on Monday.
At the same time as the AIG hearing, FDIC head Sheila Bair is scheduled to testify at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on bank regulation.
The massive AIG backlash has driven other banks to work to return government funds as soon as possible. According to the Wall Street Journal, Goldman Sachs (GS) may sell its stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to help it repay $10 billion of what it received under the TARP. The New York Times reported that the repayment could come within a month.
In other news, the airline sector is expected to see continued weakness over the course of this year. A major industry association predicted that world airlines would lose $4.7 billion this year due to the economic crisis.
The state of the airline industry today is grim, said International Air Transport Association CEO Giovanni Bisignani. Demand has deteriorated much more rapidly with the economic slowdown than could have been anticipated even a few months ago.
Stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Monday, with the major averages reaching their best levels in over a month. The standout gains came after the Obama administration revealed its plan to help banks sell toxic assets.
After showing a strong upward move at the start of trading, stocks continued to move higher through much of the trading day. The Dow eventually ended the session up nearly 500 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose nearly 100 points.
Crude oil futures are receding $0.53 to $53.27 a barrel after rallying $1.73 to nearly a 3-month high of $53.80 a barrel on Monday. Gold futures are falling $22.10 to $930.40 an ounce. In the previous session, the precious metal fell $1.70 to $952.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 98.21 yen compared to the 96.9465 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. The dollar is currently valued at $1.3556 versus the euro.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed notable higher on Tuesday, benefiting from the rally seen on Wall Street overnight. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index extended a recent upward move with a 3.3 percent gain.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed after seeing earlier strength. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down 1.3 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index remain up 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
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