Futures indicated a flat to slightly positive open for Wall Street on Tuesday, after the U.S. market's record-making day on Monday where the Dow Industrial Average reached a new 2009 trading high, close to the 10,000 mark.
Dow and S&P 500 futures were relatively flat compared to fair market value while the Nasdaq tech barometer indicated a slightly positive start. The S&P 500 index chalked up its sixth consecutive gain on Monday, while the Nasdaq also finished at fresh 2009 closing highs.
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Earnings season resumed on a somewhat downbeat note, with Dow component Johnson and & Johnson beating earnings-per-share expectations but missing on top-line revenue. Shares fell nearly 2 percent after the announcement.
After the closing bell, the techs will turn on the quarterly report from semiconductor giant Intel , as well as specialty chipmaker Altera . We'll also see the latest quarterly numbers from Dow Transportation component CSX .
Independent analyst Meredith Whitney has cut Goldman Sachs to a "neutral" rating from "buy", a move that could cause at least a bit of trepidation, as her "buy" rating in July had sparked a rally. At that time, she said Goldman would be in for a "hugely profitable quarter".
Goldman's quarterly report is due Friday morning. Shares fell 1.6 percent in premarket trading.
In company news, CNBC.com-parent General Electric would have the option to shed its interest in NBC Universal three and a half years after a deal is completed with potential partner Comcast , Reuters reported. Talks between the two companies that would give Comcast a 51 percent stake in NBC are continuing. GE shares edged higher premarket.
No major economic reports are on the calendar, though the economy will be the topic of a speech by Christina Romer, the top White House economic advisor. That will take place at 8:30 am New York time in St. Louis.
There also will be some Fed-related comment today, as New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley speaks in New York at 1:15 pm, and Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn will speak in St. Louis at 1:45 pm.
Wall Street will be focused on Washington as well, as the Senate Finance Committee takes up the health-care reform bill. A final vote is not expected until the afternoon or perhaps even the evening, depending on how much debate takes place.
Elsewhere, Bank of America has agreed to turn over documents relating to its Merrill Lynch purchase to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. CNBC has confirmed that the board voted Friday to waive attorney client privilege and turn over the documents that Cuomo had requested. BofA shares edged higher premarket.
AIG has sold another asset, getting almost $2.2 billion for its Taiwan life insurance company Nan Shan Life. Shares gained about 1 percent premarket.
Gaming stocks also will be in focus after being hit hard yesterday and again overseas this morning on word of possible new restrictions on gaming growth in Macau.
— Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk