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Stocks were steady Tuesday as oil prices held above $70 a barrel and Corporate America prepared to unleash a torrent of quarterly earnings reports.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading a point above fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a flat open. The 10-year Treasury bond was up 3/32 in price to yield 4.99%, while the dollar edged up against the yen and euro.

Crude futures continued to firm after Monday's record close of $70.40 a barrel, driven up by concerns about the nuclear-research impasse with Iran. After touching a new intraday high of $70.85 a barrel in overnight Asia trade, the May contract was recently up 15 cents to $70.55.

Other commodities also remained sky high, with gold pushing to a fresh 25-year high of $615.52 an ounce in Asian trading and silver holding well above $13. The rally in oil and gold helped sink U.S. stocks on Monday, sending both the



Nasdaq Composite

down by 0.6%.

The economic docket is full Tuesday, with reports due on wholesale inflation and housing starts prior to the release of minutes from the

Federal Reserve's

March 28 meeting this afternoon. Economists expect the March produce price index to rise 0.4% and peg the core number at up 0.2%.

Tuesday is also a huge day for earnings news, with reports due out from giants like










Texas Instruments



Among early reporters,



first-quarter net rose 21% from a year ago, while adjusted earnings of 68 cents a share beat estimates by 3 cents. The company added a percentage point to its 2006 growth forecast.



earnings rose fivefold in the first quarter due to a tax benefit, while sales rose 1% to $793.3 million, missing estimates. The company said Barbie sales fell 8% in the latest quarter.

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here


D.R. Horton


posted a 21% rise in first-quarter earnings to $352.8 million, or $1.11 a share, a penny shy of estimates. The homebuilder guided its second quarter and full year in line.

Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 recently up 0.4% to 6052 and Germany's Xetra DAX losing 0.7% to 5878. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 1.4% overnight to 17,233, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.3% to 16,638.

Away from earnings, Warren Buffett's

Berkshire Hathaway


struck a deal to buy sweatshirt maker



for $18 a share. The price represents a 35% premium to Russell's Monday close.

In early research moves, JPMorgan upgraded



to neutral, while Friedman Billings cut



to underperform on concerns about computer market growth.