Futures Point Higher; Elections in Focus

Stock index futures pointed to a higher open for Wall Street Tuesday as investors turn their attention to the mid-term election which should clear uncertainties hanging over markets.

The Congressional mid-term election are expected to result in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, while Democrats are expected to retain control of the Senate.

Your Money Your Vote - A CNBC Special Report
Your Money Your Vote - A CNBC Special Report

Investors will also be awaiting the results of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy-setting meeting,that starts Tuesday and ends with a much-anticipated statement at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Many economists expect the Fed will announce plans to buy Treasury securities to stimulate the economy, although views differ on the scale and timing of the purchases.

The major auto makers will report sales on Tuesday, as corporations continue to report third-quarter earnings.

In earnings news, Pfizer , like other drugmakers, reported strong profits, thanks to cost-cutting, but weak sales, sending its shares slightly lower. In Pfizer's case, sales were hurt by generic competition for Lipitor, its cholesterol drug, and weak sales in emerging markets.

MasterCard's shares rose in pre-market trading after the credit-card issuer reported a 15 percent gain in third-quarter profit thanks to strong international spending.

ADM's shares fell after the agricultural processing company reported inventory charges hurt third-quarter earnings.

Shares of cereal maker Kellogg fell slightly in pre-market trading after reporting lower earnings and sales, due in part to product recall and weak sales.

BPlifted its estimate of the likely costof its Gulf of Mexico oil spill by $7.7 billion to $39.9 billion. This pushed its profits down sharply in spite of higher oil and gas prices. BP shares were higher in London trading.

The oil company said delays in capping its blown-out well prompted the increased charge for ending the leak, cleaning up the damage and compensating those affected.

Toyota said that its sales in China fell 6 percent in October to 61,600 vehicles, marking the first year-on-year decline in 18 months.

European stocks dropped in early trade on uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s new measures, with investors reluctant to take big bets ahead of the policy decision Wednesday.

The dollar stayed weak on expectations of further monetary easing.

On Tap Next Week:
TUESDAY: Election Day, auto sales, FOMC meeting begins; after-the-bell earnings from Electronic Arts.
WEDNESDAY: FOMC announcement; MBA mortgage applications, Challenger job-cut report, ADP employment report, Treasury refunding announcement, factory orders, ISM non-manufacturing index, oil inventories; before-the-bell earnings from Time Warner, Aetna, CVS; after-the-bell earnings from Chesapeake Energy, News Corp, Prudential Financial and Transocean.
THURSDAY: Chain-store sales, BoE announcement, jobless claims, productivity and costs, ECB announcement; after-the-bell earnings from Kraft and Starbucks.
FRIDAY: Pending home sales index, non-farm payrolls report, consumer credit; Kansas City Fed President Hoenig speaks; before-the-bell earnings from Toyota; after-the-bell earnings from Berkshire Hathaway.

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