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A New Month - A New Mood

Friday, 1 May 2009 | 9:42 AM ET

This post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.

Stock futures are set to begin May just slightly higher this morning. This comes off the heels of one of the best months in several years for the S&P 500.

Most European bourses are closed today due to the May Day holiday.

Financials – the best sector in the S&P 500 last month – will be in the spotlight this morning following a series of stories this morning:

1) Our Steve Liesmanreports that the results of the government’s bank stress tests will now be delayed until sometime next week. Results were previously expected to be released on Monday.

2) JPMorgan cuts 2009 and 2010 EPS estimates for Bank of America, Citigroup, SunTrust, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo. It warned of continuing pressures from increasing credit costs and loan loss reserves.

3) Hartford Financial Groupis down 11 percent pre-open on a greater-than-expected Q1 loss. The insurer also announced that it would stop the sale of new insurance policies in Japan and the U.K. Guidance for the full-year is slashed to $0.05-$0.45, down from $5.80-$6.20.

4) MasterCard trades down about 5 percent pre-open despite its earnings beat. While it posted an upside surprise on the bottom line, revenues fell short of estimates as U.S. dollar volume was down 8 percent.

5) Shares of Citigroup rise 3 percent pre-open. Overnight, it agreed to sell its Japanese brokerage unit, Nikko Cordial, and some of its Japanese investment banking units to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial for $7.9 billion.

Elsewhere:

- Earnings for Chevron fell 64% as oil prices fell significantly hurt its upstream division. However, profits in its downstream operations tripled. The stock is down very slightly in pre-market trading.

- The Semiconductor Industry Association(SIA) reported a 3.3 percent rise in March global chip sales from February. SIA President George Scalise shows a little optimism: "The modest sequential rebound in worldwide sales in March suggests that demand has stabilized somewhat.”

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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