By RTT News, February 26, 2013, 06:36:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Wall Street is attempting hard to shake off the pessimism that has engulfed it, as indicated by the U.S. index futures, which point to a higher opening on Tuesday. Asian stocks retreated sharply earlier in the day and European stocks are slumping, as the Italian election results have set in motion a worry wave concerning the fiscal stability of the nation and Europe at large. Additionally, fears that the U.S. may not avoid sequestration if lawmakers do not clinch a clinch a deal by the March 1st deadline is creating some uneasiness among traders.
Traders may also have to contend with a housing and consumer confidence reading, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's semi-annual Congressional testimony and some retail earnings, including that from home improvement retailer Home Depot ( HD ), as the markets tentatively cling onto overbought levels.
As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 30 points and the S&P 500 futures are moving up 3.50 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are adding 5 points.
After a positive start, U.S. stocks succumbed to the negative sentiment generated by the Italian election results on Monday.
On the economic front, the Federal House Finance Agency is due to release the results of its survey on house prices at 9 am ET. The house price index is expected to have increased by 0.7 percent month-over-month in December compared to the 0.6 percent increase in November.
Around the same time, the S&P Case-Shiller house price index for December is also due. The 20-city composite house price index is expected to have risen a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent month-over-month compared to the 0.6 percent increase in the previous month.
The Commerce Department is due to release its new home sales for January at 10 am ET. The consensus expectations calls for an increase in new home sales to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 381,000 from 369,000 in December.
Around the same time, the Conference Board will release the results of its consumer confidence survey. Economists expect consumer confidence to have risen to 61 in February from 58.6 in January.
Bernanke is due to deliver his semi-annual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, with the testimony set to begin at 10 am ET.
In corporate news, Autodesk ( ADSK ) reported fourth quarter results that exceeded estimates. The company's full year revenues guidance was positive, while its first quarter guidance trailed estimates.
AmSurg's ( AMSG ) fourth quarter earnings trailed estimates, while its revenues exceeded estimates. The company expects full year earnings from continuing operations of $2.18 to $2.23 per share and revenues of $1.06 billion to $1.09 billion. The earnings guidance was lukewarm, while the revenue guidance was in line.
URS Corp. ( URS ) reported fourth quarter earnings of 95 cents per share on revenues of $2.97 billion, ahead of the consensus estimate. The company's board approved a 5 percent increase in its quarterly dividend. For 2013, the company estimates earnings of $4.25-$4.75 per share on revenues of $11.8 billion to $12.2 billion. The guidance was in line.
Big 5 Sports (BGFV), Dreamworks Animation (DWA), Edison (EIX), First Solar ( FSLR ), Live Nation (LYV), Papa John's ( PZZA ), Priceline.com ( PCLN ), Scientific Games ( SGMS ), TiVo ( TIVO ), Vornado Realty ( VNO ) and W&T Offshore ( WTI ) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the close of trading.
The major Asian averages followed Wall Street lower, as eurozone concerns exacerbated and the March 1st deadline for the automatic spending in the U.S. draws close.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average opened notably lower and moved roughly sideways for the rest of the session, as the yen strengthened due to its safe haven appeal. The index closed down 263.71 points or 2.26 percent at 11,399.
Australia's All Ordinaries opened lower and fell sharply in early trading. Although the average trimmed some of its losses by the mid-session, it went about a consolidation move thereafter. The index closed down 50.90 points or 1 percent at 5,022.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed at 22,520, down 300.39 points or 1.32 percent.
European stocks are receding strongly in reaction to the Italian election results, which intensified concerns about the debt crisis in the region.
In corporate news, Vivendi reported a decline in its full year earnings, hurt by one-time items, while sales rose slightly. The company's fourth quarter earnings were below estimates, while revenues exceeded expectations. German chemicals company BASF reported fourth quarter adjusted EBIT of 1.8 billion euros, in line with estimates. Sales were ahead of estimates. The company also sees improved results for 2013.
Fresenius SE said it expects profits to exceed its 1 billion euro target a year earlier than forecast. The company's fourth quarter EBIT rose 9.3 percent and sales grew 18 percent. Meanwhile, the company's Fresenius Medical unit reported a 4.7 percent increase in its fourth quarter EBIT despite 13 percent sales growth.
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