WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks may come under pressure in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a notably lower open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by 1.0 percent.
The downward momentum on Wall Street largely reflects a negative reaction to earnings news from some big-name companies.
Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) are tumbling by 3.0 percent in pre-market trading after the software giant reported its fiscal second quarter results.
Microsoft reported second quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates but provided disappointing revenue guidance for the current quarter.
Aerospace giant Boeing (BA) is also seeing pre-market weakness after reporting an unexpected fourth quarter loss on weaker than expected revenues.
On the other hand, shares of AT&T (T) are likely to see initial strength after the telecom giant reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings.
Overall trading activity may remain somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to the release of some key economic data in the coming days.
Traders are likely to keep a close eye on reports on durable goods orders, fourth quarter GDP, and personal income and spending.
After moving sharply higher for two straight sessions, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Tuesday. The major averages fluctuated over the course of the session before eventually closing mixed.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 30.14 points or 0.3 percent to 11,334.27 after leading the two-day rally. The S&P 500 also edged down 2.86 points or 0.1 percent to 4,016.95, while the Dow rose 104.40 points or 0.3 percent to 33,733.96.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific ended mixed on Wednesday, with several markets still closed for the Lunar New Year. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell by 0.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has edged down by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both down by 0.5 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are inching up $0.12 to $80.25 a barrel after tumbling $1.49 to $80.13 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,927.20, down $8.20 compared to the previous session's close of $1,935.40. On Tuesday, gold rose $6.80.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 129.93 yen compared to the 130.17 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0869 compared to yesterday's $1.0887.
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