Volatility might be the best prediction for U.S. stocks as Wall Street begins a new day. The S&P 500 came within a quarter point of surpassing its all-time closing high Monday until comments regarding the Cyprus bailout erased the day's gains.
Investors will have the distraction of a plethora of economic stats today after an empty Monday calendar. The government's durable goods report at 8:30 a.m. ET is expected to show a 4.0% jump for February compared to January's 4.9% drop.
At 9 a.m. ET, the January S&P/Case-Shiller report is seen showing a 7.9% jump in home prices in the 20 largest markets, compared to a year earlier. Another housing report comes at 10 a.m. ET, when consensus forecasts call for the government's February new home sales report to show a 5.0% drop compared to January's 15.6% gain.
Also at 10 a.m. ET, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index is expected to come in at 67.1 for March compared to February's 69.6.
The Treasury will sell $35 billion in 2-year notes, with the results of that sale available shortly after 1 p.m. ET.
The earnings calendar is a light one today, with retailer Children's Place (PLCE) among the few companies issuing numbers this morning, and mattress seller Mattress Firm Holding (MFRM) among the handful out with quarterly earnings after today's closing bell.
Boeing (BA) leads our list of stocks to watch, with the jet maker saying the first test of its new battery system for the 787 jet went according to plan. That means Boeing can now move on to formal testing, putting the jet one step closer to returning to service.
Sonic (SONC) earned $0.05 per share for its second quarter, matching estimates, with revenues slightly below estimates. However, the restaurant chain did see higher than expected profit margins, as it benefitted from lower expenses, and also saw increased traffic as it ramped up marketing efforts and redesigned its menu.
Magellan Health Services (MGLN), Vanguard Health Systems (VHS) have lost bids to renew Arizona Medicaid contracts that expires in September. Magellan and Vanguard share the contract, with Magellan earning a quarter of its total 2012 revenue from that agreement.
General Motors (GM)kicks off an effort to revamp its Buick brand today, introducing new versions of its Regal and LaCrosse models.
Baidu (BIDU) has won dismissal of a U.S. censorship lawsuit. The suit had been brought by pro-democracy activists who were seeking punishment for alleged internet censoring by China's largest search engine company.
Dell (DELL) remains in the news as investor Carl Icahn says he's started preliminary talks with Blackstone Group (BX) about teaming up on an offer for Dell. Separate bids from the two were deemed by a Dell special committee yesterday to be potentially superior to the $13.65 per share deal from CEO Michael Dell and his partners.