Stock Futures Head South

Published October 30, 2012

| Reuters

U.S. stock index futures traded a touch lower on Tuesday, with cash equity indexes set to remain closed for a second day due to a severe storm hitting the East Coast.

Futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent, Dow Jones futures shed 0.1 percent and contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.4 percent at 0940 GMT.

Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the United States, battered the nation's eastern seaboard on Tuesday, swamping New York City streets with record levels of floodwater, blacking out power to millions of people and bringing transport to a halt through much of the region.

NYSE Euronext <NYX.N> said it plans to test a new contingency plan to help resume trading as Wall Street turns its attention to whether markets can resume functioning on Wednesday. That is a key session because it marks the end of the month, when traders price portfolios.

The storm also prompted dozens of companies, including Pfizer <PFE.N>, McGraw-Hill <MHP.N>, Thomson Reuters <TRI.N>, Ralph Lauren <RL.N> and Time Warner <TWC.N>, to delay their quarterly results.

Ford is expected to report third-quarter earnings per share of $0.30, down from $0.46 last year, and analysts will focus on the automaker's operations in Europe, where the company will be cutting costs, according to recent interviews with the management.

Video-games makers Electronic Arts <EA.O> and Take-Two Interactive Software <TTWO.O> also post quarterly results. EA's holiday release Medal Of Honor has not yet generated the buzz the company had expected and this could push the company to lower its 2013 guidance, analysts say.

Apple Inc <AAPL.O> CEO Tim Cook on Monday pushed out the powerful head of the company's mobile software products group, sources said, in a major management shake-up that also claimed the recently hired chief of the retail stores division.

European stocks rose on Tuesday, led by Swiss bank UBS <UBSN.VX> after it confirmed cost-cutting plans and UK energy firm BP <BP.L> after it raised its dividend.

Japan's Nikkei <.N225> average fell 1 percent to a two-week closing low on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan eased monetary policy by increasing the size of its asset-buying and lending programme by $138 billion, largely as expected.

S&P 500 futures fell 4.9 points on Monday and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 69 points and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 fell 15.75 points.

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