Weak Open Awaits Stocks

Futures point to a sluggish open a day after a modest pullback started the fourth quarter.
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Without any catalysts to suggest ample buying opportunities existed following the prior session's pullback, Wall Street traders were preparing for what looked like a weak open Tuesday.

Futures on the

S&P 500

were down 1.6 points at 1338.80, even with fair value. Nasdaq 100 futures were losing 4.25 points to 1643.25, around 4 points below fair value.

A back-and-forth day started the fourth quarter, but ultimately the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lost 8.72 points, or 0.07%, to 11,670.35 Monday. The S&P 500 was off 4.53 points, or 0.34%, at 1331.32, and the

Nasdaq Composite

dropped 20.83 points, or 0.92%, to 2237.60.

After the close of trading, chipmaker

Marvell

(MRVL) - Get Report

said its third-quarter revenue will be lower than expected and indicated that it will restate its past financial results because of discrepancies in its prior stock-option grants.

Those developments sent the shares down more than 15% in late trading and put the stock below its regular-session 52-week low.

Also providing a forecast was bankrupt carrier

Northwest Airlines

(NWACQ)

, who said it should have a modest profit for the full year despite a softening in revenue since September and an expected loss for the last four months of 2006.

The phone-record snooping scandal at

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

had CEO Mark Hurd in the headlines again, this time in the form a

Wall Street Journal

report that said he might have known about the program being used to plug boardroom leaks as early as July 2005. However, citing a memo from an outside law firm, the report said Hurd doesn't appear to have known that H-P investigators were using potentially illegal techniques.

On the research front, Credit Suisse upgraded

RF Micro Devices

(RFMD)

to outperform from neutral and lifted

Skyworks

(SWKS) - Get Report

to neutral from underperform. Stifel Nicolaus also raised its rating on Skyworks.

Lehman Brothers downgraded the oil and gas sector to negative, and Merrill Lynch cut the energy sector to underweight.