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Russia's 'aid' to Ukraine in focus on Wall Street

Wall Street looked set to open flat on Tuesday, with tensions in Ukraine, Iraq and Israel still in focus.

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On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Russia had sent a 280 truck convoy to Ukraine carrying humanitarian aid. NATO fears the aid may be a disguised bid to invade Ukraine, following its annexation of the country's Crimea region in March.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama said Iraq had made important strides towards rebuffing of militants, through the appointment of a new prime minister. He urged the formation of an "inclusive" government.

"The de-escalation in Ukraine and what looks like a change of direction in Iraq should take the heat out of the panicked selling of the past two weeks," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG.

Over in the Middle East, Israel and Hamas agreed on Sunday to a new 72-hour ceasefire, proposed by Egypt. Reports on Monday suggested the peace was holding.

In the U.S., the small business optimism index edged higher in July, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses released on Tuesday. The JOLTS job openings report will be released later in the day. Both have provided evidence so far this year that the economic recovery is strengthening. The NFIB broke higher in the second quarter, reaching its highest level since September 2007, and job openings jumped to their highest level in May since 2007.

The monthly Federal Budget Statement for July is also out on Tuesday.

Stock watch

One to watch is Chiquita Brands International, after Brazilian juice maker Cutrale and investment firm Safra Group made a $610.5 million cash bid for the firm, rivaling an all-stock agreement with Fyffes.

Companies that reported quarterly earnings before Wall Street opens include Towers Watson and Insys Therapeutics, which both beat estimates. After the closing bell there will be results from King Digital, in its second report as a public company.

ReneSola was one of the New York Stock Exchange's biggest premarket movers, jumping 6.7 percent to $3.03 after it reported a second-quarter swing to profit on lower costs.

Brian Cornell will take over as Target's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on Tuesday.

Facebook will shut its 2-year-old "Gifts" shop, as the social network tests other ways for consumers to buy products on its website.

In the bond markets, the Treasury is due to sell $27 billion of three-year notes.




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