WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Trading in the U.S. index futures indicate a positive opening on Tuesday, as a bigger-than-forecast increase in German investor confidence to a 10-month high in February helped ease concerns over another mass downgrade of the creditworthiness of European countries.
Having said that, the retail sales report scheduled to be released shortly before the markets open may impact trading.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 6 points, the S&P 500 futures are gaining 2 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are up 3.75 points.
U.S. stocks advanced strongly on Monday, capitalizing on the news that the Greek Parliament has approved the austerity package required to secure a second bailout package.
In economic news, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its retail sales report for January at 8:30 am ET. Economists estimate a 0.7 percent increase in retail sales and a 0.6 percent improvement in retail sales excluding autos.
The export & import price indexes for January are due out at 8:30 am ET. The consensus estimates call for a 0.3 percent month-over-month increase in import prices and a more modest 0.1 percent increase in export prices.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser is due to speak to the University of Delaware Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneuship on the economic outlook, in Newark, Delaware at 8:45 am ET.
The Commerce Department is scheduled to release its business inventories report for December at 10 am ET. The report is expected to show a 0.5 percent increase in business inventories for the month.
In corporate news, Cabot Microelectronics (CCMP) said its board has approved a special cash dividend of $15 per share or about $345 million.
Bristol-Myers (BMY) announced the successful completion of the tender offer to buy all outstanding shares of Inhibitex (INHX) for $26 per share.
Charles River's (CRL) fourth quarter results were ahead of estimates. For 2012, the company expects non-GAAP earnings of $2.60-$2.70 per share on 0-2 percent sales growth. The guidance was in line with estimates.
Health Management Associates (HMA) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 26 cents per shares. Revenues rose 17.6 percent to $1.58 billion. The earnings were ahead of estimates, while revenues were in line.
Gen-Probe (GPRO) reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings, while revenues were about in line with estimates.
FIS (FIS) said its board approved an increase in its annual dividend to 80 cents per share, while it also authorized additional stock buyback program up to $1 billion. Separately, the company announced fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 64 cents share on revenues of $1.5 billion. The results exceeded expectations.
Texas Instruments Inc has hired Advanced Technology Resource Group to advise on its sale of factories in Japan and the United States, according to semiconductor advisory firm ATREG.
Boeing Co. (BA) said the company and Lion Air, Indonesia's largest private airline, finalized a firm order for 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900ERs. The agreement, first announced last November in Indonesia, also includes purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.
Apple Inc plans to launch a fourth-generation (4G) version of its iPad in early March, a Wall Street Journal report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Indian government is investigating if the local units of Google and Yahoo have violated foreign exchange laws when sending and receiving funds from their overseas counterparts, another Wall Street Journal report said.
Meanwhile, U.S. and European regulators approved Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc as they believed the deal is not anticompetitve.
Avon Products (AVP), Borg Warner (BWA), Hospira (HSP), Host Hotels (HST), Goodyear Tire (GT), Marsh McLennan (MMC), Watson Pharma (WPI), Bob Evans BOBE), FMC Tech (FTI), Curtiss-Wright (CW), MetLife (MET), Quest Software (QSFT), Peet's Coffee (PEET), Weight Watchers (WTW) and Valmont (VMI) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results.
Asian stock markets closed on a mixed note Tuesday, with key benchmark indexes in Hong Kong, India , Japan and Singapore posting modest gains after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly expanded its asset-purchase program and data showed India's headline inflation, as represented by the wholesale price index, dipped to 6.55 percent in January, its lowest level in more than two years.
Investors remained cautious after rating agency Moody's cut the debt ratings of Italy, Spain and Portugal and warned that the U.K. and France may lose their triple-A ratings, citing the area's weakening ability to implement austerity programs and reforms.
European shares are edging higher, reversing early losses, after the February reading of the German ZEW index suggested that the recent slowdown in economic growth may not lost.
German investor sentiment rose to a ten-month high in February, with the economic sentiment index climbing to 5.4 from -21.6 in the previous month, as positive economic data from the United States nourished hopes for a more stable global business climate. The progress in the negotiations of the Greek government with its creditors may have reduced economic uncertainty in the Eurozone, the think-tank said.
The euro strenghthened against the dollar and commodities such as copper and crude are gaining ground after Italy raised six billion euros in an auction of medium-term bonds, with borrowing costs falling sharply to the lowest since March.
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