U.S. Stocks Seen Lower; Earnings Take the Stage

Premarket futures were hinting at a lower open for stocks on Wall Street Tuesday, as traders prepared to pick through a generous serving of corporate earnings statements.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 8.7 points at 982 and were 4.6 short of fair value. Nasdaq futures were lower by 21 points at 1339 and were 19 below fair value.

On Monday, the major indices rallied sharply as credit markets opened up somewhat and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said an economic stimulus package may be a good idea.

After the close of that session, credit card firm American Express ( AXP) reported earnings that fell year over year but still beat analysts' expectations.

Meanwhile, Texas Instruments ( TXN) said it foresaw weak sales in the next six months and said it plans to sell its cell-phone chip business.

Ahead of the new day's trading, industrial conglomerate 3M ( MMM) and equipment manufacturer Caterpillar ( CAT) are expected to report. DuPont ( DD) reported Tuesday third-quarter earnings that fell from a year earlier because of hurricane-related charges.

Defense company Lockheed Martin ( LMT) and United Airlines parent UAL ( UAUA) are also on the docket.

Also due out are results from regional banks Fifth Third ( FITB), National City ( NCC), US Bancorp ( USB) and M&T ( MTB).

As for the automakers, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chrysler might partner with Nissan ( NSANY) and Renault for purposes of manufacturing and development. The Journal said that Chrysler would still prefer to merge with General Motors ( GM).

Looking at commodities, crude oil was declining 44 cents to $73.81 a barrel, and gold was down $8.40 to $781.60 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were declining in price. The 10-year was down 2/32 to yield 3.85%, and the 30-year was losing 12/32, yielding 4.28%. The dollar was gaining on the euro and pound but shrinking vs. the yen.

Overseas, European exchanges such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were trading higher. As for Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei closed on the upside, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished with losses.

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