RTTNews - U.S. stocks are set for a lackluster opening Wednesday morning as traders turn jittery ahead of the earnings season which may provide clues about the economy that is teetering amid weak economic fundamentals. Bargain hunting at lower levels and technical factors may also impact trading.

As of 6.15 am ET, the Dow Futures were up 14 points, the S&P Futures were up 2.20 points, and the Nasdaq 100 futures were up 3.25 points.

Tuesday, stocks ended in negative territory following a sharp decline in commodity prices in a late reaction to the acknowledgment by Vice President Joe Biden in an interview on Sunday that the Obama administration misread the economy. The uncovering of yet another Ponzi scheme by the SEC involving Dallas businessmen to the tune of $485 million also unsettled the investors.

Moderately strong demand for the Treasury's auction of $35 billion worth of three-year notes earlier in the day had little impact on trader sentiment, as they preferred to lock-in gains in a late sell-off and moved to the sidelines amid expectations for yet another stimulus package from the U.S Government. Technology, energy and oil stocks took the beating amid concerns about slackening demand and bleak future. The dollar continues to weaken against the Japanese Yen, while it strengthened against the euro and the pound.

The Dow fell 161.27 points or 1.9% to 8,164, the Nasdaq closed down 41.23 points or 2.3% at 1,746, and the S&P 500 dropped by 17.69 points, or 2% at 881.

The meeting of the G-8 leaders in Italy and their assessment of global economic conditions would be on the radar of traders. Traders may also focus on the Mortgage Bankers Association's purchase applications index, the Federal Reserve's monthly consumer credit report for May and the weekly petroleum inventory report of the Energy Information Administration.

Restaurant operator Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (RT) said Tuesday after the markets closed that its fourth quarter profit rose 3.7% from last year, as lower operating costs and expenses helped offset a 7.1% decline in revenue.

Internet search provider Google (GOOG) revealed in a blogspot that it is contemplating to introduce Chrome Operating System in a bid to challenge the Windows Operating System of Microsoft (MSFT)

Light sweet crude oil for August delivery is currently losing $0.33 and is trading at $62.60, after having shed about $1.13 a barrel in the previous session to $62.93 a barrel on concerns about weak demand. The price declined below the $62 a barrel mark in Asian trading.

Dow component Alcoa (AA) would kick-start the earnings season with the release of the second quarter results after the markets close for trading today. The aluminum major is expected to show a loss for the third consecutive quarter amid the economic crisis that has led to a sharp decline in prices for the company's products.

The markets across Europe are trading mixed following Wall Street losses on concerns about global recovery. The CAC-40 Index in France is down 0.37% while the DAX Index in Germany and the FTSE in the UK are just above the unchanged line in the green with gains of 0.02% and 0.08%.

On the economic front, the Eurostat confirmed that the quarter-on-quarter contraction in GDP across the Eurozone is 2.5% for the first quarter of 2009. The Eurostat also revised downward the annual decline in GDP to 4.9% from initially reported fall of 4.8%.

In the UK, the British Retail Consortium revealed that the British BRC-Nielsen shop price index rose 0.7% year-over-year in June, slower than the 1.3% increase in the previous month. In Germany, the
Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology revealed that industrial production for May unexpectedly rose 3.7%, compared to analysts' expectations of a 0.5% increase.

The markets across Asia-pacific region ended in the negative territory following Wall Street losses as investors preferred to adopt a wait-and-watch attitude ahead of the earnings season in the U.S. Weak economic data and continuing drop in oil prices also affected market sentiment.

The economic news across the Asia-pacific region is not so encouraging either. The Cabinet Office in Japan revealed that core machinery orders declined 3.0% in May compared to April, marking the third straight decline and signaling a continued slowdown in business activity as companies curtail capital spending. Another report revealed that the country recorded an overall trade surplus of 1.302 trillion yen in May.

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