US stocks were looking for direction Wednesday morning in New York after a mixed performance in the previous session.
As of 6:20 am ET, the Dow Futures were up a point, while the NASDAQ Futures and S&P Futures were down a few points.
On Tuesday, the Dow closed up 50.34 points or 0.6 percent at 8,469.11, the Nasdaq fell 15.32 points or 0.9 percent to 1,715.92 and the S&P 500 closed down 0.89 points or 0.1 percent at 908.35.
Economic data is likely to be in focus on Wednesday, with the Commerce Department scheduled to release its report on retail sales in the month of April. Economists expect sales to come in unchanged after falling by 1.2 percent in March.
Traders are also likely to keep an eye on monthly reports on import and export prices and business inventories as well as the weekly crude oil inventories report.
At 10 am ET, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hear testimony from AIG (AIG) Chief Executive Edward Liddy on the insurer's plan for paying back billions of taxpayer dollars.
Applied Materials, Inc., the world's biggest semiconductor equipment maker, said Tuesday after the markets closed that it swung to a second quarter loss, as sales dropped 53% amid exceptionally weak demand in the midst of a global recession. This marks the second consecutive quarterly loss for the company following a string of profits running back to 2003. The company's quarterly loss per share, excluding items, came in line with analysts' expectations but its sales topped analysts' forecast.
Dutch financial services giant ING Groep NV reported Wednesday a huge loss for the first quarter, citing volatility in equity markets, high level of credit spreads, decline in real estate prices as well as increase in loan losses. The Amsterdam-based company's first quarter net loss was 793 million euros or 0.39 euros per share, compared to a net income of 1.54 billion euros or 0.74 euros per share in the earlier year.
Freddie Mac (FRE) Tuesday reported a wider loss in the first quarter, hurt by a hefty rise in expenses, mainly credit related, reflecting ongoing deterioration of housing and credit market conditions, and a drop in consumer confidence. Revenues also dropped sharply from a year ago. Following losses, Freddie Mac has requested for an additional $6.1 billion in funding from the US Treasury department.
RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties, Wednesday, released its April 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report and said that foreclosure filings were up 32% from the same month last year.
The price of oil continued to hover near the $60 a barrel mark in early dealing this morning.
Meanwhile, the dollar remained on the defensive versus other majors after hitting multi-month lows against the euro, sterling, and loonie.
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