Will Tuesday be the day U.S. stocks yet again reach record highs, and this time, stay there? For now, stock futures suggest a weak start to the trading session.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or DJIA, were down 0.08 percent and those on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.2 percent, while futures on the Nasdaq Composite Index were down 0.19 percent.
On Monday, the DJIA crossed the 16,000-mark for the very first time while the S&P 500 crossed 1,800. But, neither index managed to hold on to the gains and slipped back to close marginally below these levels.
Perhaps, earnings from retail majors such as The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD), The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE:TJX), Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE:CPB) and Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) before market hours, could coax the indexes back up above these all-time highs.
Later on Tuesday, at 7 p.m. EST, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to address a group of economists in Washington and, as usual, investors will look for hints about the Fed’s decision on winding down its stimulus program.
“The most likely outcome is that Bernanke toes the party line by stating that tapering is dependent on the economic data. But he is unlikely to specify what constitutes the substantial improvement in labour market conditions that the Fed is looking for,” a note from Capital Economics said, noting that Bernanke has not spoken in public about monetary policy since his semi-annual testimony to Congress in July.
In Europe, ahead of the ZEW survey on economic sentiment in Germany, the Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.63 percent and the FTSE was down 0.6 percent. France's CAC-40 was trading down 0.99 percent and Germany's DAX-30 was down 0.4 percent.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.25 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended down 0.59 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat and the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.19 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was up 1.04 percent and India’s BSE Sensex ended the day flat.