Futures Tread Water; Earnings in Focus

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed Tuesday, suggesting the Dow could open near its highest level since 2007 as traders mull a slew of corporate earnings.

Today's Markets

As of 8:03 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 9 points to 13567, S&P 500 futures dipped 1 point to 1478 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2 points to 2736.

American markets were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. The blue-chip average closed out last week at its highest level since December 2007. However, whether or not the markets can hold recent highs could depend of fourth-quarter earnings.

Several major companies are up on the day. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) posted mixed results, with adjusted profits topping Wall Street's forecast, but revenues and full-year outlook trailing expectations.

DuPont (NYSE:DD), the biggest American chemical maker, saw its earnings beat expectations on the top and bottom lines. Travelers (NYSE:TRV), the blue-chip insurer, also weighed in with a beat on profits and revenues. The same can't be said for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), which reported a profit that widely trailed expectations, but sales that came in slightly ahead of the Street's view.

Results from IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are on tap for after the closing bell.

On the economic front, a closely-watched report from the ZEW Institute showed German economic sentiment surging to its highest level since May 2010 in January. Germany is Europe's powerhouse economy, and has struggled to stay afloat as the eurozone debt crisis has pummeled countries it exports to.

"The ZEW readings are consistent with eurozone risk having diminished while activity itself has yet to respond to the improved situation," analysts at Barclays wrote in a note to clients. Still, the investment bank warns that "too much should not be made of one month’s reading" since it is a volatile metric.

The Bank of Japan also stepped up its fight against deflation, setting an explicit 2% inflation "target" after previously working toward a 1% inflation "goal." The move comes amid a fresh push for accommodative fiscal and monetary policy from new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Later in the day, traders will get a look at how the real estate market fared in December. Sales of existing, single-family homes are expected to have risen slightly to an annualized rate of 5.1 million units from 5.04 million the month before.

Oil prices were little changed. The benchmark contract fell 4 cents, or 0.04%, to $95.52 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.47% to $2.81 a gallon. In metals, gold climbed $2.90, or 0.18%, to $1,690 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.08% to 2724, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.02% to 6179 and the German DAX slumped 0.41% to 7717.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 slipped 0.35% to 10710 and the Chinese Hang Seng rose 0.29% to 23659.