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U.S. futures lower, eyes on Fed easing plans; Dow Jones down 0.17%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday, as strong U.S. data fuelled speculation over an earlier-than-expected end to the Federal Reserve's easing program.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.17% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.15% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.20% decline.

Data on Friday showed that the U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs last month, well above expectations for an increase of 160,000. The unemployment rate ticked down to 7.7%, the lowest level since December 2008, from 7.9% in January.

Meanwhile, market sentiment remained under pressure amid concerns over the economic outlook for the euro zone, while worries over ongoing political uncertainty in Italy also weighed.

Retailers were expected to be active, after Costco Wholesale posted a 39% increase in quarterly profit, beating expectations, thanks to increasing sales, membership fees and a tax benefit related to a special cash dividend.

Shares in the company edged up 0.08% in after-hour trade.

Aircraft companies were also likely to be in focus, after the Irish Independent newspaper reported that Ryanair is preparing to announce a deal to buy 200 aircraft from Boeing on Sunday.

In the tech sector, Hewlett-Packard slipped 0.14% in late trading, amid reports the U.K. Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by managers at Autonomy Corp., the software maker acquired and later written down by Hewlett-Packard.

The SFO informed HP of the investigation February 6, and follows the U.S. Justice Department in probing Autonomy.

Elsewhere, insurance giant American International Group had more than USD600 million in impairments since the end of 2010 on death-benefits bets, as the company was stuck paying insurance premiums for people who lived longer than the firm expected, according to a Bloomberg report.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were steady. The EURO STOXX 50 edged down 0.10%, France's CAC 40 added 0.07%, Germany's DAX dipped 0.06%, while Britain's FTSE 100 inched 0.01% lower.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.87%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.28%. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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