Futures indicated a positive open for Wall Street on Tuesday, as the market had diverse reactions to two early economic reports
Futures had pared earlier gains following numbers from ADP that showed continued pressure on the jobs market. But those losses quickly reversed after the government said gross domestic product contracted at a slower pace than expected in the second quarter.
Early gains also were reflected in various commodities, particularly oil which rose nearly $1 a barrel.
In corporate news, Bank of America shares rose premarket after the company said it was selling long-term assets to Ameriprise for about $1 billion. Ameriprise shares rose more than 3 percent as well.
Goldman Sachs shares also were called a bit higher after both Bernstein and KBW raised their outlooks for the Wall Street titan.
Discovery Laboratories saw its shares surge more than 44 percent after the small-cap pharma said government regulators had agreed to the firm's plan to settle questions over its experimental lung drug.
No matter what happens on this final day of trading for September and the third quarter, it's clear that historical trends have taken frequent vacations over the past year as the markets plunged in the aftermath of the financial crisis and then staged a strong recovery since bottoming out in March.
The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq are all up strongly for September, traditionally the worst month of the year for stocks.
And the Dow may set an all time record for quarterly point gain: as of now, the Dow has a gain of 1295.20 for the quarter. The current record is 1338.81, set in the fourth quarter of 1998.
As of right now, both the Dow and the S&P 500 have their best percentage gains since that quarter, with the Nasdaq having its best percentage gain since the second quarter of 2003.
At 9:45 am New York time, the market will get the latest Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, forecast to come in at 52.5 for September, signaling a return to growth in the manufacturing sector — at least in the Chicago area. Last month, that figure was exactly at 50, the dividing line between growth and contraction.
And at 10:30 am New York time comes the Energy Department's weekly look at crude oil inventories.
The busy week for Fed commentary continues: Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart gives a speech on the economy in Alabama at 9:30 am New York time, Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn participates in a panel discussion at the Cato Institute's meeting of the Shadow Open Market Committee at 12:35 pm, and Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo testifies before a Senate subcommittee on the topic of financial regulation reform at 2:30 pm.
Elsewhere on the calendar, the SEC finishes a two day public hearing on possible changes to rules regarding short sales, while pay czar Kenneth Feinberg will speak in Chicago on executive compensation reform.
Among stocks that may bear watching today:
- Nikereported earnings that were well above Wall Street estimates.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that Hewlett-Packard may combine its printer and PC divisions.
- Wynn Resorts saw its Asian IPO price at the top of the estimated range.
- Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientifichave settled a patent infringement lawsuit over heart stents, with Boston Scientific paying J&J $716.3 million.
— Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk