Economic Optimism Boosts Futures; Dow Eyes Record High

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures pushed higher Tuesday on upbeat eurozone data, suggesting the Dow could open within easy range of its all-time closing high.

Today's Markets

As of 9:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 52 points to 14169, S&P 500 futures gained 6 points to 1532 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 14.8 points to 2775.

The blue-chip average quietly climbed in afternoon trading on Monday, putting it within less than 40 points of its record closing high of 14164.53. set in October 2007. It is still further away from its all-time intraday high of 14198.1 notched the same month.

The Dow has been on a wild ride since it last hit record levels. In March 2009, during the depths of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, it plunged as low as 6547.05. It has taken numerous sizeable falls since then, too, notably during the U.S. debt-ceiling debacle in the summer of 2011.

Generally, analysts pay closer attention to the broader S&P 500, which is still more than 2% away from its record high of 1565.15.

European Data Boost Sentiment

Sentiment across world trading desks got another modest boost on Tuesday from eurozone data. Retail sales across the 17-member currency bloc climbed 1.2% in January from December, following a 0.8% decline the month before. The composite purchasing manager's index for the eurozone was also revised up slightly to 47.9 for February from an initial estimate of 47.3 -- indicating the pace of contraction was slightly slower than expected.

Traders will get a reading on U.S. services sector activity from the Institute for Supply Management at 10:00 a.m. ET. The ISM non-manufacturing PMI gauge is expected to have fallen slightly to 55 from 55.2. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below point to contraction.

Elsewhere, oil prices edged up after slipping below the $90 a barrel mark for the first time this year on Monday. The benchmark contract recently rose 20 cents, or 0.23%, to $90.33 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.26% to $3.107 a gallon. Gold advanced $10.30, or 0.66%, to $1,583 a troy ounce.

In corporate news, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) boosted its quarterly dividend 40% to 35 cents and unveiled a $5 billion share buyback plan to replace its $4 billion plan.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 1.5% to 2658, the English FTSE 100 climbed 0.8% to 6397 and the German DAX soared 1.6% to 7815.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up 0.27% to 11683 and the Chinese Hang Seng inched higher by 0.1% to 22561.