RTTNews - U.S. stocks are set to open slightly weaker on Tuesday as traders might pause to lock gains after an impressive rally drove the indices northward on increasing confidence that the worst for the global economy is over.

As of 6.15 am ET, the Dow Futures were down 13.00 points, the S&P Futures were down 2.10 points, and the Nasdaq 100 futures were down 2.50 points.

On Monday, stocks ended in positive territory, aided by a modest rally in late trading after a report that showed an increase in new home sales boosted optimistic expectations of a recovery in the world's largest economy.

A report released by the Commerce Department revealed that new home sales jumped by 11% in June, the sharpest increase in nearly nine years. According to the report, new home sales rose to an annual rate of 384,000 in June from the revised May rate of 346,000. Economists had expected sales to rise to 352,000 from the 342,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Traders also digested positive earnings from RadioShack (RSH), Tellabs (TLAB) Corning (GLW) Verizon (VZ) and Honeywell (HON).

The major gainers during the session include banking, housing, brokerage, commercial real estate, electronic storage and steel stocks. However, retail and health insurance stocks showed weakness.

The Dow closed up by 15.27 points or 0.2% at 9,109, the Nasdaq climbed by 1.93 points or 0.1% to 1,968 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.92 points or 0.3% at 982.

Traders will be focusing on a couple of economic numbers, as they try to assess the health of the economy which, despite showing signs of stability, is still not completely out of the woods and require close monitoring.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which tracks monthly changes in the value of residential real estate in 20 metropolitan regions across the U.S., is scheduled to be released at 9 AM. Economists expect a 17.80% year-over-year decline in the 20-city composite house price index for May.

The Conference Board is scheduled to release its consumer confidence report for July 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 slipped to 48.7 in July.

San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Janet Yellen is scheduled to speech to the Idaho/Oregon Bankers Association on the economic outlook in Couer d'Alene, Idaho at 10 am ET.

Traders will also react to earnings of major companies that released the report card after the market closed for trading on Monday.

Capital goods manufacturer Manitowoc Co. Inc. (MTW) reported a net loss for the second quarter, hurt by a loss related to a sale of Enodis ice business and restructuring charges, as well as lower revenues and the difficult market conditions prevailing. On an adjusted basis, quarterly earnings plunged from last year.

World's largest biotechnology company Amgen Inc. (AMGN) said that its second quarter profit rose 40% from last year, as lower costs and a tax benefit more than offset a small revenue decline. At the same time, the company raised its earnings outlook for the full year 2009.

Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. (PCL) said its second quarter profit edged up from the prior year, driven by lower expenses and a substantial gain from the sale of Wisconsin timberland, offsetting a decline in quarterly revenues.

Nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer producer CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF) reported a decline in profit from last year, due to a 15% decline in sale attributed to lower sales volume in both nitrogen and phosphate segments.

Prominent companies slated to release their results before the market opens for trading Tuesday include Coventry Healthcare (CVH), Ceradyne (CRDN), Fresh Del Monte Products (FDP), and Office Depot (ODP).

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery is currently trading at $68.37, down $0.01 from its previous close in New York at $68.38 on Monday. The dollar is weakening against the Euro, the Pound, and the Japanese yen.

The markets in Europe are trading mixed at present having given up some of the early gains after BP reported a sharp drop in profits for the second quarter on lower oil prices as well as weak refining margins. While the CAC-40 Index in France is gaining 0.16%, the DAX Index in Germany is adding 0.11%, the FTSE Index in UK is slipping 0.20%.

Across the Asia-Pacific region, most of the markets, except Japan and India, ended in positive territory on increasing optimism about A global recovery. Profit taking led to declines in Japan and India.

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