Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to lower opening on Tuesday, following declines in European and Asian stock markets as continued political unrest in the Middle East weighed on the sentiment.
Futures on the S&P 500 are down 1.37 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.95 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are down 1.57 percent.
Moammar Gaddafi appeared on state television on Tuesday, local time, to kill rumors that he has left the country. The besieged dictator said he wanted to show that he was still in Libya and not in friendly country Venezuela as reported on Monday. While Gaddafi did not make any substantial references to the bloody struggle taking place around his country demanding his exit, his favorite 'dog' abuse was back with a vengeance.
On the economic front, the S&P/CaseShiller house price index for the month of December will be released before the markets open on Tuesday. The index is expected to show that house prices continued to decline at 2.4 percent compared to 1.6 percent down in the previous month.
The U.S. Conference Board will release its consumer confidence index for the month of February after the markets open. The index is expected to show a reading of 63.00 compared to 60.60 in the previous month.
On the corporate front, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is expected to report quarterly profit of $1.31 per share on revenue of $117.68 billion. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is due to report first quarter earnings after the closing bell. Analysts’ expect HP to report quarterly earnings of $1.29 per share compared to $1.07 per share last year.
In Asia, Tokyo shares declined after Moody's Investors Service changed the outlook on the Japan's Aa2 sovereign rating to negative from stable on concern the government policies may not be enough to address the nation’s debt burden.
European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 60.49 points, DAX30 down by 43.76 points and CAC 40 down by 56.55 points.
The euro declined 0.78 percent to 1.3572 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.31 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures surged 8.40 percent to $93.44/barrel and gold futures rose 0.60 percent.