Futures Point to Higher Open; UPS Rises

Stock index futures pointed to a higher open for Wall Street on Tuesday after the Dow recorded its best January since 1997, while in Egypt the army pledged not to clamp down on protests by thousands in the capital Cairo.

The upbeat tone comes after the market posted its best January results in several years.

Strong manufacturing data in the Euro-zone as well as earnings lifted market sentiment Tuesday. UPS beat analyst estimates with profit of $1.08 a share, sending its shares up 1.4 percent in premarket trading.

Pfizer earnings disappointed, though, as thepharma giant beat Wall Street estimatesbut cut its forward guidance and cut research and development spending. Still, its shares rose in pre-market trading.

Energy was the strongest-performing sector on Tuesday, up 2.5 percent on rising oil prices and Exxon Mobil's strong earnings report.

Investors will continue to monitor the political unrest in Egypt closely on Tuesday. Protesters have been calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in demonstrations that started last Tuesday.

Egypt is not a major oil producer, but nearly 3 million barrels a day moves through the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline, and investors fear of a contagion spreading to other oil producing countries in the region has helped spark a run in oil prices.

Investors will also be watching ISM manufacturing data and construction spending at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

December construction spending was expected to remain unchanged according to economists surveyed by Reuters after rising 0.4 percent in November. The Commerce Department will release the results at 10 a.m.

Auto sales for January will be released Tuesday afternoon .

A number of major earnings before the bell, including from Dow components, will provide further direction for stocks.

BP disclosed quarterly figures before the European open that showed the pain from the oil spill continued to flow, adding another $1 billion to its earlier $40 billion estimate of the total bill for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company said it would start paying a dividend again. It cut the payout following the disaster.

BP will remain in focus on Tuesday when the company's oligarch partners in TNK-BP will seek an injunction to block BP's planned Arctic exploration joint venture with Russian state-controlled Rosneft.

European markets were higher in morning trade on Tuesday, lifted by strong earnings from Infineon and ARM which boosted technology stocks.

On Tap Next Week:

TUESDAY: Auto sales, ISM manufacturing index, construction spending; earnings after-the-bell from Aflac, Broadcom and Electronic Arts.
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, Challenger job-cut report, ADP employment report, oil inventories; earnings from Marathon Oil, Mattel, NewsCorp., Visa and Yum Brands.
THURSDAY: Chain store sales, ECB announcement, jobless claims, productivity and costs, factory orders, ISM non-manufacturing index, Bernanke at National Press Club, Minneapolis Fed President speaks, Verizon begins iPhone pre-orders; earnings from GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Royal Dutch Shell, Sony, Unilever, MasterCard and Sunoco.
FRIDAY: Nonfarm payrolls; earnings from Aetna.

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