MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures point to second day of gains

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures on Tuesday pointed to a second day of gains as bullish traders re-enter the market after last month's downturn.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.4 points to 1,090.70 and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.25 points to 1,762.00. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35 points.

Strong manufacturing data and better-than-forecast Exxon Mobil earnings helped U.S. stocks climb on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 118 points, the Nasdaq Composite rising 23 points and the S&P 500 adding 15 points.

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"People are more open to the idea that the market might have gotten a little ahead of itself to the downside, since we were at the bottom of the recent trading range," said strategist Joe Williams, of Commerce Trust Co. on Monday.

Tuesday's agenda features pending home sales for December, car sales for January, and testimony from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the Obama administration's $3.8 trillion budget.

Economists at Barclays Capital say they don't expect the suspension of some Toyota /quotes/comstock/13*!tm/quotes/nls/tm (TM 79.94, +2.94, +3.82%) sales to have made much of an impact in January for industry sales, as it expects sales up 13% year-on-year.

A day after Exxon Mobil's stronger-than-forecast fourth quarter, BP /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 57.23, +1.11, +1.98%) fell in London trade after its quarterly profit missed estimates after a weak performance in its refining unit. Europe's largest oil major also said that 2010 production may fall after a relatively benign hurricane season in 2009. See BP story.

Earnings from Dow Chemical /quotes/comstock/13*!dow/quotes/nls/dow (DOW 28.63, +1.54, +5.68%) , Hershey /quotes/comstock/13*!hsy/quotes/nls/hsy (HSY 36.81, +0.38, +1.04%) and United Parcel Service /quotes/comstock/13*!ups/quotes/nls/ups (UPS 58.39, +0.62, +1.07%) also are due.

Barnes & Noble /quotes/comstock/13*!bks/quotes/nls/bks (BKS 18.00, +0.52, +2.97%) is expected to surge after billionaire Ron Burkle suggested he wants to own more than a third of the book retailer and criticized investment restrictions set up by the company. Read more on Barnes & Noble.

Overseas, Australia unexpectedly kept interest rates unchanged at 3.75% -- economists were expecting a hike -- though the country's central bank said it could raise rates further. That news -- and an upgrade of mining giant Rio Tinto /quotes/comstock/13*!rtp/quotes/nls/rtp (RTP 206.62, +12.60, +6.49%) by Citigroup -- helped the S&P/ASX 200 rise 1.8%, and the Nikkei 225 climbed 1.6% after Toyota Motor's plan to fix faulty pedals. See story on Aussie rate decision.

The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 rose 0.6% as miners rose, offsetting the drop from BP and other oil producers. See Europe Markets.

Oil futures traded over $75 a barrel ahead of weekly inventories data.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 79.14, -0.10, -0.12%) was a bit weaker at 79.35.

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.


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