Futures Move Solidly Higher after Central Bank Comments

Markets Reuters

Stock index futures were higher on Tuesday as supportive comments from central banks around the world indicated that monetary policies designed to support the global economy would remain in place.

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Equities have been closely tethered to monetary policy, with major U.S. indexes posting their first negative week since mid-April last week on lingering concerns that the Federal Reserve may scale back its stimulus measures sooner than expected.

Both the Bank of Japan and the European Central bank reaffirmed that their policies would remain in place; on Monday, when markets were closed for the Memorial Day holiday, ECB Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said the policy would stay as long as necessary.

Central bank stimulus has been a major contributor to Wall Street gains this year, lifting the S&P 500 more than 15 percent. Both the S&P and Dow have hit a series of new highs as investors use any market decline as a buying opportunity.

Cyclical sectors, which are closely tied to the pace of economic growth, are likely to advance on any sign of continued supportive policies. Bank of America (BAC) rose 1.4% to $13.43 in premarket trading while Citigroup Inc (C) was up 1.6% at $51.33.

S&P 500 futures rose 10.7 points and were above 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 added 100 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 27.25 points.

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Investors will be watching the S&P's 14-day moving average of 1,647.91. On Friday, the benchmark index briefly fell below that level though it subsequently rebounded and closed above it. If the index remains below that level for a protracted period, it could portend waning momentum.

Luxury retailer Tiffany & Co (TIF) on Tuesday reported adjusted earnings and sales that beat expectations.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co (ANF) late Friday reported a drop in first-quarter same-store sales that was steeper than expected and cut its full-year profit view.

With 486 S&P companies having reported their latest quarterly earnings, 66%have topped earnings expectations, about even with the 67% beat rate over the past four quarters. Only 46% of companies have beaten on revenue, lower than the 52%rate over the past four quarters.

In the latest economic data, home prices are seen having risen 1 percent in March, according to the latest CaseShiller data, which is due at 9 a.m.

May consumer confidence is seen coming in at 71, up from 68.1 in the previous month. Confidence data is due at 10 a.m.