By Caitlin Ostroff and Joanne Chiu
U.S. stock futures were little changed after major indexes hit records a day earlier and investors got ready for a slew of blue-chip earnings.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 wavered between gains and losses, indicating the benchmark gauge may open flat after notching a record high Monday. Futures for the technology-focused Nasdaq-100 index declined 0.2% and contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.1% lower.
This week marks the height of earnings season, with Verizon, General Electric, 3M, Raytheon Technologies, American Express and Lockheed Martin due to report quarterly earnings before the opening bell Tuesday. Starbucks, Microsoft and Texas Instruments will release results after markets close. Major tech firms, including Apple, Tesla and Facebook, will update investors Wednesday.
Investors will watch to see if earnings can continue to top analysts' expectations, providing a further catalyst to push markets higher.
"What's working in the market's favor is the overall trend of economic growth is still robust and that's likely to translate to positive earnings," said Shoqat Bunglawala, head of multiasset solutions, international, at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. "There's an expectation that there's going to be more robust growth driven by pent up demand in the second half of the year."
In premarket trading, shares of GameStop rose 24% as individual traders, propelled by social media, piled into the stock. The stock swung wildly Monday and has gained more than 300% this year, in the latest sign that frenetic trading by retail traders is leading to outsize stock-market swings.
Shares of software and services firm BlackBerry, another favorite among individual traders, gained 16% premarket.
The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.8%. Shares of UBS Group rose 2.8% after the Swiss bank announced a new buyback program of up to $4.5 billion, having closed 2020 with a consensus-beating quarterly performance.
Travel and transportation stocks were hit hard on concerns about the speed of vaccine rollouts and the timing of some countries' reopenings. Jet-engine maker Rolls-Royce was down 10% at its lowest level of the year. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines was off 3%.
In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 1.048% from 1.038% Monday. Yields rise when prices fall.
Indexes in Asia handed back some of the robust gains registered in the first few weeks of this year. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong dropped 2.6%, as heavyweight Tencent Holdings fell 6.3%, retreating from a record high reached in the previous session. The Shanghai Composite shed 1.5%, the Nikkei 225 retreated 1% and South Korea's Kospi Composite lost 2.1%.
In a surprise move, the People's Bank of China withdrew 78 billion yuan, or the equivalent of $12 billion, from the Chinese financial system through open-market operations Tuesday. The move runs counter to expectations in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holidays, when China's banking system usually needs more, not less, liquidity.
At 10 a.m. ET, The Conference Board is due to release its index of consumer confidence, which will show whether U.S. consumers' outlook on the economy improved or deteriorated in January.
Data showing the pace of U.S. home-price growth in November will be out at 9 a.m. In the year to October, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas, rose 8.4%.
Write to Caitlin Ostroff at email@example.com and Joanne Chiu at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires