Futures Edge Lower; Banks Could Take Focus
U.S. stock index futures drifted lower Tuesday ahead of minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting on fiscal and monetary policy.
Bank stocks will be worth watching after Wells Fargo upgraded the group on less fear of regulatory problems and solid valuations.
Wells said Bank of America is best positioned to capitalized as investors turn their focus away from damage control and toward normalized earnings. BofA shares edged higher in premarket trading.
European shares were higher after UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the country's next general election for May 6, while Asian stocks ended mixed with the Nikkei 225 closing lower.
In keeping with the modest nature of Wall Street's so-called "stealth rally," the major averages continued to creep higher Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing toward 11,000 points. But it hasn't quite gotten there just yet. The Dow is currently about 27 points short of that mark, where it has not closed since September 26, 2008. The index has only had four losing sessions in the past month.
The release of the latest FOMC minutes will happen at 2 pm New York time. Investors usually look to the minutes for more clues as to how and when the Federal Reserve will unwind its accommodative monetary policy.
Details and highlights of an exclusive interview with Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker on the same subjectwill be seen throughout the morning on CNBC's Squawk Box. The Treasury will hold an auction of 3-year notes Tuesday afternoon, with the results available shortly after 1 pm.
In the news, 25 coal miners are dead and four are missing, after a massive explosion in a West Virginia mine owned by Massey Energy . Rescue teams are planning to continue to search for the missing workers. It's the worst U.S. mining disaster in more than two decades.
Peabody Energy raised its offer for Australia's Macarthur Coal to $3.27 billion. However, analysts suggest the bidding could go even higher, as the new bid is below Macarthur's current market price.
And the Financial Times reported that Greece 's dollar bond offer in the U.S. will run between $5 billion and $10 billion, as demand for its debt dwindles in Europe.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.