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Futures Gain; Starbucks, Steelmakers Higher

Futures indicated a slightly higher open for Wall Street Tuesday, after the stock market saw its worst one-day loss in two months, as defensive stocks rose.

Automakers were likely to be in focus as two of the industry's leaders were set to take advantage of a $25 billion government loan program aimed at helping the companies retool their factories to make advanced-technology vehicles.

Ford Motor, Tesla and Nissanwere expected to take part in the program. Ford shares edged higher in premarket trading.

Among the other expected market movers for the day, ArcelorMittal , the largest steelmaker in the world, entered an agreement with Brazilian mining group Vale to a substantial cut in the price of iron ore.

An ArcelorMittal spokesman said the agreement was "of the greatest importance" as iron ore prices fall. Company shares gained 2.5 percent premarket while Vale shares also edged higher.

Elsewhere, Starbucks gained more than 2 percent after Robert W. Baird upgraded the company to "outperform."

Banking and insurance stocks dragged Asia and Europe down for the year, although Europe managed to recoup losses to trade up.

Defensive sectors, such as utilities and health care, were the major gainers in Europe, reflecting investor preference for gradually increasing equity exposure after being underweight for the past year or so, Reuters reported.

Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting, which will conclude Wednesday with their latest assessment of the nation's economy. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is not expected to raise benchmark interest rates, currently near zero.

One market-moving event investors will focus on is shortly after 1 pm New York time the Treasury will announce the results of a record $40 billion 2-year note auction. It's part of a total of $104 billion in auctions this week.

However, in what may be seen as an encouraging sign, a senior Treasury official Tuesday morning said that 80 percent of U.S. borrowing requirements for fiscal 2009 are already funded.

Moody's Investors Services said the US' triple-A ratings could come under threat if Washington were unable to bring its public debt back to a downward trajectory and/or if the dollar were severely challenged as the main international reserve currency.

In corporate news, Apple confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs returned to work from medical leave, following Monday's reports that Jobs had a liver transplant two months ago.

Later in the day, existing home sales data for May will be out at 10 am New York time. Economists expect to see sales at 4.8 million, up 2.6 percent.

The Richmond Federal Reserve will release its monthly survey at 10 am New York time. And Goldman Sachs chain-store sales data will be out at 8:45 am.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly stockpile data at 4:30 pm New York time.

President Obama holds a 12:30 pm New York time news conference at the White House. He also plans to spend part of the day meeting Chile President Michelle Bachelet.

And supermarket chain Kroger will report quarterly earnings before the opening bell, while software giant Oracle will post earnings after the closing bell.

— Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk contributed to this report

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F
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KR
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MT
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7201.T
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ORCL
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SBUX
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VALE'A
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AAPL
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