Published April 24, 2012
FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
Dow futures fell from session highs as traders mulled a disappointing housing report and earnings from several corporate giants.
As of 9:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 20 points to 12888, S&P 500 futures dropped 0.2 point to 1363 and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 7.3 points to 2643.
Wall Street kicked off the week on a sour note, with the S&P 500 shedding 0.84% on Monday. Rising political instability in the eurozone, coupled with weak economic data, has brought into question whether a deficit-cutting pact will be upheld. While traders were keeping an eye on Europe on Tuesday, attention is shifting back to the U.S., with a slew of earnings and data on the docket.
On the earnings front, three blue chips posted quarterly results on the day.
3M (MMM) revealed first-quarter earnings of $1.59 a share on revenue of $7.5 billion, beating expectations of $1.49 a share on $7.49 billion. The Dow component also boosted the lower end of its full-year earnings forecast by ten cents.
AT&T (T) posted a first-quarter profit of 60 cents a share on sales of $31.8 billion. Analysts expected the telecommunications giant to earn 57 cents on $31.85 billion.
United Technologies (UTX) unveiled earnings on continuing operations of $1.31 a share, besting expectations of $1.20. However, the diversified manufacturer's sales came in at $12.42 billion, weaker than the $12.71 billion expected.
Apple (AAPL), the world's biggest company by market capitalization, is set to report after the closing bell.
Traders will also have a round of data on the U.S. economy to parse through.
Home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas fell 0.8% in February, on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis, according to a report by S&P/Case-Shiller. Prices Prices fell 3.5% from the same month in 2011, a slightly bigger drop than the 3.4% expected.
A report later in the morning is forecast to show new home sales having risen to an annualized rate of 320,000 in march from 313,000 in February. The housing market has struggled to recover after getting pummeled during the economic downturn as demand has remained tepid, supply has remained high and credit conditions have remained tight.
The Conference Board's gauge of consumer confidence is anticipated to remain unchanged in April. Economists will be looking to see how consumers are affected by factors including high gasoline prices and a stubbornly weak labor market.
The Federal Reserve also begins its two-day policy meeting on the day, with a statement expected on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, commodities were mixed. Crude oil traded in New York rose 24 cents, or 0.25%, to $103.37 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slipped 0.45% to $3.17 a gallon.
In metals, gold climbed $9.70, or 0.59%, to $1,642 a troy ounce.
European blue chips rallied 0.99%, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.46% to 5691 and the German DAX climbed 0.66% to 6566.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.78% to 9468 and the Chinese Hang Seng rose 0.26% to 20677.