NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street Tuesday after stocks declined sharply during the prior session because of political uncertainty in Italy.
Investors were awaiting consumer confidence and housing data Tuesday and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's semi-annual testimony before Congress.
Home Depot (HD), the biggest home-improvement retailer, posted fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday of 67 cents a share on revenue of $18.2 billion; analysts were looking for earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $17.69 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 7% in the quarter. Shares were gaining nearly 2% in premarket trading.
The company also said it increased its quarterly dividend by 34%.Macy's (M) posted quarterly profit of $2.05 a share on revenue of $9.35 billion, beating the average analyst earnings estimate of $1.99 a share on revenue of $9.3 billion as the company benefited from robust holiday sales. The company is predicting same-store sales growth of about 3.5% in fiscal 2013. Shares were popping more than 4%. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 29 points, or 54.83 points above fair value, at 13,817. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 3 points, or 4.35 points above fair value, at 1490. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 3.25 points, or 5.23 points above fair value, at 2705. Major U.S. stock averages each fell more than 1% Monday and the VIX fear gauged spiked as investors feared that the latest updates from Italy's elections were portending the risk that the country could backpedal from its austerity programs. "The week failed to get off to a strong start, as the Dow Jones continued to battle with the round-number 14,000 area," said Joe Bell, senior equity analyst with Schaeffer's Investment Research. "After such a strong rally this year, these round number areas often act as logical levels for investors to take profits." On the U.S. economic front, the Conference Board's February consumer confidence data is anticipated to indicate an increase to 62 from 58.6. The report is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. EST. Bell noted that after the January figure plummeted to its lowest level since November 2011, most economists are expecting a bounce back up this time. Another key economic event Tuesday will be Bernanke's semi-annual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. On the question of to what extent Bernanke will continue to defend quantitative easing, Ted Weisberg, president of Seaport Securities, told TheStreet late Monday that Bernanke doesn't have "any choice. I think ... in spite of the comments from the minutes that we saw ... the Fed is in a box. They have no choice. There is nothing going on economically that will allow him not to continue ..." In other U.S. economic releases, the Case-Shiller 20-city index for December is expected to show a rise of 6.5% versus a 5.5% increase the prior month. The report is to be issued at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., the Census Bureau is expected to report that new-home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 383,000 in January from 369,000 the prior month. Gold for April delivery was rising $5.70 at $1,592.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while April crude oil futures were down 72 cents at $92.39 a barrel. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 4/32, raising the yield to 1.879%. The dollar was flat, according to the U.S. dollar index. The FTSE in London fell 1.33% and the DAX in Frankfurt declined 1.87%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong finished off 1.32% and the Nikkei Average in Japan settled down 2.26%. In corporate news, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) holds its annual Investor Day in New York on Tuesday, nine months after the 'London Whale" scandal caused a $2 billion trading loss. Shares were up 0.59%. General Motors (GM) is proposing an $11.1-million pay package for Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson in 2013, $2.1 million more than it paid the executive last year, The Detroit Free Press reported, citing documents that it obtained. Shares were trading sideways. Priceline (PCLN), the online travel agency, is expected by Wall Street to post adjusted earnings of $6.54 a share on revenue of $1.19 billion. AutoZone (AZO) said Tuesday that domestic same-store sales decreased 1.8% in its fiscal second quarter. Earnings came in at $4.78 a share on revenue of $1.9 billion, versus the average analyst earnings estimate of $4.76 a share on revenue of $1.88 billion. Shares were slipping more than 2%. Vivus (VVUS) reported a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss. Shares were tumbling more than 7%. -- Written by Andrea Tse in New York >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.
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