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Dow set to open sharply lower; Oil, strong dollar weigh

U.S. stock index futures indicated a sharply lower open on Tuesday, following weakness in Europe, as a fresh dip in the oil price weighed on investor sentiment.

There's "concern that energy and the strength in the dollar will somehow be negative for the equities," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

The price of oil pushed lower Tuesday morning, with Brent Crude falling more than 1 percent to below $58 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell to $49.60. The decline comes after Goldman Sachs said in a note Monday that it expected U.S. crude to drop as far as $40 a barrel in the near-term.

The U.S. dollar advanced to 12-year highs as the euro fell below $1.08 for the first time in 8 years on the beginning of QE in the euro zone.

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Data releases on Tuesday include January's wholesale inventories figures, which are expected to fall marginally on the month, marking the first monthly contraction since May last year.

January's JOLTS survey is also due for release and is expected to show a further rise in the number of unfilled positions at U.S. companies in January to 5.05 million, the highest level in fourteen years.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

American Eagle Outfitters, Analogic and Verifone are due after the bell.

European equities were lower on Tuesday, with investor sentiment curbed by the fall in the price of oil and ongoing negotiations surrounding Greece.

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Chipmaker Qualcomm announced a 14-percent dividend hike to 48 cents per share as well as a $15 billion stock buyback program.

Credit Suisse has named Prudential chief Tidjane Thiam as its new chief executive officer. His appointment will become effective at the end of June, when current CEO Brady Dougan will step down. Prudential shares slipped more than 2 percent in pre-market trade, while Credit Suisse shares surged more than 7 percent in pre-market trade on anticipation of the new leadership team

UBS upgraded Hewlett-Packard to "buy" from "neutral," noting a recent pullback in the stock's price and CEO Meg Whitman's upgrade of the executive team.

Urban Outfitters reported quarterly profit of 60 cents per share, 2 cents above estimates, with revenue in line. Comparable store sales were up six percent for the quarter, better than the two percent reported for the full year. Urban's rise in comparable store sales was its first in a year.

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Skyworks Solutions will join the S&P 500 after the closing of trading Wednesday. The semiconductor maker will replace PetSmart—which is being sold to private equity firm BC Partners—in the benchmark index.

As of Monday's close:

  • The Dow Jones industrial average was within one standard deviation above its 50-day moving average. Since 1981 the index has been in this position 6.50 percent of all trading days, according to quantitative analytics tool Kensho. The probability of the index moving lower is 52.2 percent and the probability of it moving higher in the days following is 47.8 percent.
  • The S&P 500 was within half a standard deviation above its 50-day moving average. Since 1980 the index has been in this position 5.22 percent of all trading days, according to Kensho. The probability of the index moving higher in the days following is 51.5 percent and the probability of it moving lower is 48.5 percent.
  • The Nasdaq composite was within one-and-a-half standard deviations above its 50-day moving average. Since 1980 the index has been in this position 7.39 percent of all trading days, according to Kensho. The probability of the index moving lower is 61.7 percent and the probability of it moving higher is 38.3 percent.

CNBC's Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.

Disclosure: CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Kensho.