U.S. stocks were lower ahead of the open as the dollar rose and investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting to gain clues on potential quantitative easing.
Stocks may fell pressure from the dollar, which rose against the euroand a basket of currencies on Tuesday.
European shares were lower across the board with mining companies leading the decline on weaker metal prices. Asian stocks closed mostly in the red, but Chinese stocks saw a boost.
The Federal Open Market Committee will release details of its September meeting at 2 p.m. With many market watchers expecting another round of asset buying from the central bank in the coming months, the minutes could provide key details on the Fed's strategy.
Meanwhile, further clues could be gleaned at a speech from Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig at 11:45 a.m. Hoenig will speak on the economic outlook and monetary policy from a National Association for Business Economics meeting in Denver, Colorado.
There have recently been a growing number of market watchers claiming that further liquidity would do little to boost the real economy. Stephen Roach, non-executive chairman at Morgan Stanley Asia, said on CNBC that Americans would rather reduce their debt levels than increase spending and so further liquidity wouldn’t help.
Shares of Avon Products jumped in the pre-market on a report that L'Oreal , the French cosmetics company, may bid for the company with cash.
King Pharamceuticals shares soared after news the company will be acquiredby Pfizer for $3.6 billion in cash.
After-the-bell, Intel and CSX will report earnings.
In economic news, small business owners surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business were slightly more optimistic in September, although more plan to cut jobs than hire new workers. The NIFB pptimism index edged up 0.2 points to 89.0.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet is scheduled to speak at the Economic Club of New York at 12:15 p.m.
At 1 p.m. the results of a $32 billion sale of 3-year Treasury notes will be available.
Coming Up This Week:
TUESDAY: Employment trends index; employment optimism index; Kansas City Fed Pres Hoenig speaks; CFTC hearing on high frequency trading and flash crash; 3-year note auction; FOMC meeting minutes; P&G shareholder meeting; Earnings from Intel and CSX
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications; import & export prices; 10-year note auction; Richmond Fed Pres Lacker speaks; Earnings from JPMorgan
THURSDAY: International trade; PPI; weekly jobless claims; oil inventories; 30-year bond auction; Minnesota Fed Pres Kocherlakota speaks; OPEC meeting; Earnings from Google and AMD
FRIDAY: Atlanta Fed Pres Lockhart speaks; Bernanke speaks; CPI; retail sales; Empire State mfg survey; consumer sentiment; credit card default rates reported; Earnings from GE and Mattel
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