NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures pointed to an opening decline on Tuesday with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. facing questioning from a U.S. Senate panel as to the extent the investment bank profited from the housing market's collapse.
Stock futures fell a bit further after the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index for February fell 0.9% from the month earlier, although its value rose 0.6% from the year-ago period.
Down 11 points before the home-price report, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 23 points lower to 11,128. Futures for the S&P 500 were off 6.7 points at 1,201.5 and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 8.75 points to 2,038.5.
Shareholders sue Goldman
A Goldman Sachs shareholder files a lawsuit Monday against the bank, accusing the firm of failing to disclose a SEC investigation. Plus, Senate Democrats agree to kill a provision from their derivatives bill that would have allowed Berkshire Hathaway to avoid a significant financial hit; and WSJ's Melinda Beck and Laura Landro preview their pieces on the sun and your health.
U.S. stocks meandered on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average edging up a point behind Caterpillar's improved 2010 outlook while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite finished with moderate losses. Cyclical stocks advanced while defensive sectors declined, and financials were hit as banking reform concerns lingered. See related story on Caterpillar.
Reform plans may be impacted by the hearings in Washington D.C. on Tuesday featuring Goldman Sachs /quotes/comstock/13*!gs/quotes/nls/gs (GS 153.68, +1.65, +1.09%) CEO Lloyd Blankfein and a vice president, Fabrice Tourre, testifying just days after the Securities and Exchange Commission accused to the investment banking stalwart of securities fraud relating to the sale of collateralized debt obligations. See related story on Goldman. See feature on CDOs.
"The financial industry is more interested in seeing the new set of rules and regulations. They can move forward once they know what the game plan is," said Marc Pado, a strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald.TODAY'S INTERNATIONAL MARKET STORIES
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Ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision due Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will be testifying in front of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.
"We don't expect much in terms of any discussion of the economy or monetary policy, given the week-long blackout period surrounding the FOMC decision on Wednesday," said analysts at Action Economics.
There also will be the Conference Board's consumer confidence gauge to be released at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Earlier on, the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs reported chain-store sales rose 5.5% last week from the year-ago period.
The U.S. Treasury will be selling $44 billion of two-year notes, while Greek bonds continued to trade at big spreads vs. German bonds of equivalent maturity.
"None of what is happening in Europe is likely to dampen the remarkably robust earnings recovery for U.S. companies. Furthermore, the Fed isn't likely to raise the federal funds rate much, if at all, anytime soon. So the choice for believers in Apocalypse Now is to earn nothing on all their cash," wrote Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research Inc.
Earnings season continued as 3M /quotes/comstock/13*!mmm/quotes/nls/mmm (MMM 88.48, +1.04, +1.19%) and DuPont /quotes/comstock/13*!dd/quotes/nls/dd (DD 39.81, -1.14, -2.78%) climbed in premarket trade after the industrial giants hiked their annual earnings guidance. Ford's /quotes/comstock/13*!f/quotes/nls/f (F 13.62, -0.84, -5.81%) return to profitability dragged the U.S. automaker lower by 1.5% in early trade.
U.S. Steel Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!x/quotes/nls/x (X 57.37, -2.70, -4.49%) reported losses narrowed in the first quarter, while United Parcel Service Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!ups/quotes/nls/ups (UPS 66.47, -2.05, -2.99%) reported a profit rise of 33% for the period.
Boston Scientific Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!bsx/quotes/nls/bsx (BSX 7.18, +0.12, +1.70%) fell over 4% as the medical device maker cut its 2010 earnings guidance, citing the impact of a halt in defibrillator sales in mid-March.
Overseas, the Shanghai Composite dropped 2.1% as investors feared possible tightening measures, while the Stoxx Europe 600 dropped 1.2% in late-morning trade, with metals and banking sector stocks leading the slide.
Oil futures fell 83 cents a barrel, and the euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (CUR_EURUSD 1.3206, -0.0186, -1.3889%) dropped vs. the U.S. dollar.
Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.