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Stock Futures Point to Modest Gains on Wall Street

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. markets on Tuesday look to extend the lazy gains made a day earlier, with little expected impetus driving the markets in any one direction. Wall Street saw a quiet day on Monday, allowing the S&P 500 to drift to a record high of 1808.37, after increased Chinese exports offset concerns the Federal Reserve might curtail its bond-buying program of $85 billion a month, one of the drivers of 2013 market strength.

  • S&P 500 futures on Tuesday were adding 0.1%, or 2.98 points above fair value, to 1810.80. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were gaining 0.1% to 16,042.00. Nasdaq futures were up 0.16%, or 8.15 points above fair value, to 3524.00.
  • Asian markets closed the session lower, depressed by data showing Chinese factory production was up 10% in November, shy of estimates of 10.1%, according to Bloomberg. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.25% to 15,611.31 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng clipped 0.28% to 23,744.19.
  • In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.17% to 9210.68, France's CAC 40 gained 0.04% to 4135.65 and London's FTSE added 0.06% to 6563.49.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are expected to finalize the Volcker Rule on Tuesday. The ruling is designed to limit the big banks' ability to engage in proprietary trading, a move which would reduce volatility.
  • Lululemon (LULU) is popping on news it has named Laurent Potdevin as CEO and that founder Chip Wilson intends to resign as chairman. The apparel retailer, well known for its too-sheer yoga pants debacle earlier this year, has been searching for a CEO since Christine Day said in June she planned to resign. In premarket trading, shares rose 2.9% to $72.40.
  • Twitter  (TWTR) extended its gains after the social network announced a number of new features, including analytics and targeting tools, on Monday. Premarket, the stock rose 0.24% to $49.26, adding to Monday's 9.3% rally to $49.14. 
  • Reporting quarterly earnings before the bell, Toll Brothers (TOL) was surging 3.6% to $34.80, while AutoZone  (AZO) remains as yet untraded. Homebuilder Toll Brothers posted fourth-quarter net income of 54 cents a share, beating Yahoo! Finance estimates by 9 cents. Revenue of $1.04 billion was $40 million higher than expected. Meanwhile, analysts expect AutoZone to post net income of $6.28 a share on $2.1 billion in revenue.
  • Expected to report after the bell are Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AVNR), H & R Block (HRB) and NCI Building Systems (NCS).
  • The economic calendar is fairly empty with only wholesale inventories data from the Census Bureau due out by 10 a.m. EST.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.

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