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Stocks ticked lower early Wednesday as


( DNA) spiffy earnings growth wasn't enough to revive a market beaten down by high oil prices and geopolitical anxiety.

Index futures recently showed both the

S&P 500

and Nasdaq 100 trading a point below fair value. The 10-year Treasury bond was unchanged in price to yield 4.92%, while the dollar was steady against the yen and euro.

Wednesday's economic slate features a Commerce Department report that is expected to show the U.S. trade deficit narrowed slightly to $67.5 billion, according to a


survey. At that width, the deficit would still be the third-largest of any month on record.

Genentech fell late Tuesday despite reporting a 48% jump in first-quarter earnings to $421 million, or 39 cents a share. Adjusted earnings of 46 cents a share were a nickel better than forecast. Revenue rose 36% to $1.99 billion and the biotech titan bumped up guidance for the full year.

Oil prices weren't moving much but still held near seven-month highs as traders digested Iran's claim to have successfully manufactured enriched uranium as part of a nuclear research program. May crude, which gained $1.35 on Monday and 24 cents Tuesday, was recently off 5 cents to $68.93 a barrel in electronic trading.

The situation in Iran beat down U.S. stocks Tuesday. The

Nasdaq Composite

led the way lower with a 1% swoon, while the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 0.5% to 11,090 and the S&P 500 slipped 0.8% to 1287.

Companies reporting earnings Wednesday include

Circuit City

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Commerce Bancorp

(CBH) - Get Free Report


Advanced Micro

(AMD) - Get Free Report


Overseas markets were lower, with London's FTSE 100 recently down 0.6% to 5983 and Germany's Xetra DAX losing 0.5% to 5879. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 1.5% overnight to 17,163, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1% to 16,311.

European markets continued to buzz with news that the



has accumulated a roughly 15% stake in the London Stock Exchange two weeks after dropping a buyout offer for the company. The Nasdaq labeled the purchase "strategic," but observers say it could fan more takeover speculation for the U.K. exchange.

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


Also overseas,


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CEO Eric Schmidt told


Wednesday that he sees a huge potential for growth in China. Schmidt said the Internet company likely to add 100 software engineers in China this year.

Two mid-tier tech companies issued profit warnings Tuesday.


(AVID) - Get Free Report

said it sees adjusted earnings of 35 cents to 38 cents a share on sales of about $217 million in the first quarter. Analysts wanted 49 cents and $230.23 million.




predicted third-quarter adjusted earnings of 20 cents or 21 cents a share on sales of $106 million to $108 million. Analysts were looking for 27 cents a share on sales of $107 million.

A story in the

Wall Street Journal

Wednesday says class-action lawyers could target another drug in possible lawsuits against


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. Lawyers reportedly have their sights set on Fosamax, an osteoporosis treatment that they claim is linked to a rare jaw disease. Merck says the causal chain is unclear and the disease is probably related to other conditions.