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Stocks - U.S. Futures Lower as Earnings Flow; Dow Futures Down 144 Pts

By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are set to edge lower at the open Tuesday, with investors turning cautious as the earnings season kicks into high gear ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting while uncertainty still exists over new fiscal stimulus.

At 7:30 AM ET (1130 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 15 points, or 0.4%, lower, Nasdaq Futures down 64 points, or 0.6%. The Dow Futures contract fell 144 points, or 0.5%. 

Senate Republicans on Monday proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package, after securing agreement with the White House, paving the way for urgent negotiations with the opposition Democrats as expanded unemployment benefits for millions expire at the end of this week.

Meanwhile, the earnings season heats up, with this week set to see around a third of S&P 500 companies reporting. 

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Raytheon Technologies (NYSE:RTX) have impressed with their quarterly results, while McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) and 3M (NYSE:MMM) have disappointed.

The likes of Visa (NYSE:V), Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ) International and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) are due to report after the bell. 

The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee begins the latest of its regular two-day meetings later Tuesday. Expectations are for the central bank to maintain rates near zero but there is speculation that the Fed may guide for a further relaxation of policy before too long.

Fed policymakers have become more downbeat on the economic outlook in recent weeks, with some cautioning that recent improvements in economic data such as job gains may be fleeting amid a resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic.

That said, there have been signs of improvement in the U.S.'s battle with the Covid-19 virus. New infections fell to their lowest level in nearly three weeks at the weekend, suggesting a slowdown beyond the normal weekend dip.

Economic numbers come in the form of house price data from S&P/Case Shiller at 7 AM ET, the Conference Board’s consumer sentiment index at 8 AM and the Richmond Fed’s regional business survey also at 8 AM.

Oil prices were largely unchanged Tuesday, with U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% lower at $41.46 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 0.1% to $42.92.

Traders will be watching out for U.S. inventory data due from the American Petroleum Institute industry group later on Tuesday and the government on Wednesday. 

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,926.50/oz, after earlier hitting a record high of $1,974.40 per ounce, surpassing a peak touched in September 2011, while EUR/USD traded at 1.1729, down 0.2%.


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