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Futures Waver Ahead of Economic Reports

CNBC.com
Tuesday, 1 May 2012 | 8:41 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open Tuesday ahead of several key economic reports and as investors digested a handful of earnings.

Trading is likely to be quiet with many major European and Asian markets closed in observance of May Day.

Pfizer topped earnings expectationsas cost controls helped offset falling sales of its cholesterol drug Lipitor, which now faces competition from generic alternatives. Earlier this month, the drugmaker agreed to sell its baby formula division to Nestle for $11.85 billion.

And oil producer BP reported a bigger-than-expected earnings decline despite an increase in crude prices, as production fell after it was forced to sell fields to pay for the oil spill.

Broadcom , CBS , Chesapeake and Motorola Mobility are among notable companies slated to post earnings after-the-bell tonight.

On the economic front, construction spending for March due to be released at 10:00am ET. And the ISM manufacturing index for April is due to be released at the same time. Economists in a Reuters survey expected a reading of 53.0 versus 53.4 in March.

Bank of America said it is planning to slash up to 400 positions, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing sources, adding that the sale of the financial giant's wealth-management operations overseas would reduce up to 2,000 jobs.

Growing Trend of April Was Fear And Trepidation: Trader
Kevin Ferry, Cronus Futures Management, offers insight on what drove market movements in April. "The only thing that did good in April is the bond market," he tells CNBC's "Squawk Box."

P.F. Chang's China Bistro surged after private equity firm Centerbridge Partners said it will acquire the restaurant chainin a deal worth $1.1 billion, a 30 percent premium to the stock's Monday close.

Delta Airlines announced that it would buy a Pennsylvania oil refinery from ConocoPhillipsfor $150 million.

The leaders of New York City’s pension funds said they would vote their 4.7 million company shares against five directorsstanding for re-election to Wal-Mart’s board over concerns about the retailer’s reported cover-up of bribery in its Mexico operations, according to the New York Times.

And News Corp came under fresh attack by UK politicians who said Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to lead a major international company on the heels of the phone-hacking scandal at the company's cable TV operator BSkyB.

Most markets in Europe and several major Asian markets were closed on Tuesdayto mark the May Day holiday and trading could remain thin ahead of Thursday's ECB policy meeting and Friday's non-farm payroll report. The London Stock Exchangewas the only major market that was open in Europe.

In Asia, China's factory activity hit a 13-month high in April, suggesting the world's second-largest economy may be slowly recovering from its decline.

—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC

Coming Up This Week:

TUESDAY: ISM mfg index, construction spending, auto sales, Under Armour shareholders mtg; Earnings from Broadcom, CBS, Chesapeake Energy, Motorola Mobility
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, Challenger job-cut report, ADP employment report, factory orders, oil inventories, Pepsi shareholders mtg; Earnings from Comcast, Time Warner, UBS, Barrick Gold, Clorox, CVS, Marathon Oil, MasterCard, Dreamworks Animation, Green Mountain Coffee, Sunoco, Transocean, Visa, Whole Foods
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, productivity and costs, ISM non-mfg index, chain-store sales, Nokia annual mtg, Verizon shareholders mtg; Earnings from GM, Kraft, AIG, LinkedIn
FRIDAY: Government non-farm payrolls, Alcoa shareholders mtg, Berkshire shareholders mtg; Earnings from Berkshire Hathaway

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