RTTNews - U.S. stocks are set to open lower on Wednesday following a pullback in commodity prices and fresh concerns about valuations of stocks after earnings reflected the impact of cost-cutting measures rather than revenue growth. Traders may also prefer to stay on the sidelines ahead of the release of the advance second quarter GDP report on Thursday.
As of 6.30 am ET, the Dow Futures were down 29.00 points, the S&P Futures were down 4.20 points, and the Nasdaq 100 futures were down 2.75 points.
On Tuesday, stocks ended on a mixed note with major averages closing on either side of the unchanged line amid yet another low volume trading as traders digested weak economic numbers and earnings.
On the economic front, a report released by the Conference Board revealed that consumer confidence deteriorated by more than expected in the month of July, reflecting less favorable assessments of both current conditions and near-term outlook. The Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index fell to 46.6 in July from an unrevised 49.3 in June. Economists had been expecting a much more modest decline by the index to a reading of about 49.0.
In another report, Standard and Poor's revealed that its S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index fell at an annual rate of 17.1% in May compared to the 18.1% decrease reported for April. Economists had expected the report to show that prices fell 17.9% year-over-year. On a monthly basis, S&P said that 13 of the 20 metro areas reported positive returns, contributing to the first monthly increase by the 20-city composite since the summer of 2006. The 20-city composite index rose 0.5 percent for the month.
Traders also digested earnings of Valero Energy (VLO), Amgen (AMGN), Manitowoc (MTW) and Office Depot (ODP).
While the Nasdaq closed up by 7.62 points or 0.4% at 1,976, the Dow fell by 11.79 points or 0.1% to 9,097 and the S&P 500 slipped by 2.56 points or 0.3% to 980.
Along with earnings, a few key economic reports are likely to keep traders occupied in Wednesday's session. The Commerce Department is set to release its durable goods orders report for June at 8:30 AM ET. Economists look forward to a 0.5% decline in durable goods orders for June. The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum inventory report at 10:30 AM ET. The Federal Reserve is due to release its Beige Book, which is a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, at 2 PM ET.
New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley is due to speak on the factors driving U.S. growth and inflation before the Association for a Better New York, in New York at 8:30 am ET.
Traders will also look forward to the high-level discussions between the United States officials and China which resulted in an agreement on broad economic goals. It has been reported that the two countries have reached a framework for cooperation to guide future economic dialogue.
Traders will also react to earnings of major companies that released their report cards after the market closed for trading on Tuesday.
Drug wholesaler McKesson Corp. (MCK) said that its first quarter profit rose 23% from last year, helped by strong cost controls across the company.
Insurer XL Capital Ltd. (XL: News ), reported a 66% plunge in second-quarter profit, reflecting unfavorable foreign currency translations, lower premium income, and a drop in net investment income amid the difficult economic conditions.
Semiconductor company STMicroelectronics NV (STM) reported a wider net loss for the second quarter, hurt by lower revenues amid the difficult economic conditions.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) said its second quarter profit declined from last year, hurt by lower revenues. However, the company's quarterly earnings and revenues came in well ahead of analysts' expectations.
Natural gas-focused energy company Questar Corp. (STR) said its second quarter earnings declined sharply from last year but came in line with Street estimates, as revenues decreased year-on-year.
Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS) reported a sharp decline in second quarter profit hurt by lower revenues from International and Financial solution segments. Quarterly revenues were down 4.0% negatively impacted by exchange rates.
Prominent companies slated to release their results before the market opens for trading Wednesday include Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), Conoco Phillips (COP), Hospira Inc (HSP), Jones Apparel Group (JNY), Moody's Corporation (MCO) and Praxair (PX).
Light sweet crude oil for September delivery is currently trading at $65.87, down $1.36 from its previous close in New York at $67.23 on Tuesday.
The dollar is gaining against the Euro and the Pound, but showing weakness against the Japanese counterpart Yen.
The European markets are trading in positive territory, unaffected by the sell-off in China and other Asian markets, led by chemical and financial stocks. The CAC-40 Index is presently gaining 1.64%, the DAX Index in Germany is rising 1.78% and the FTSE Index in the UK is adding 0.89%.
The markets across Asia-Pacific region, except Japan, ended in negative territory on profit taking. Heavy sell-off was witnessed in China and Hong Kong markets.
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