Stock Futures Dip After Recent Big Run-Up

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were dipping slightly Tuesday as investors deliberated their next move after a big run-up in stocks over the last few days.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 21 points, or 6.29 points below fair value, at 14,360. In the previous session, the index logged its longest winning streak since the seven-day period ended March 15, 2012, having booked seven straight positive trading days. The Dow posted its fifth-straight record close.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2 points, or 0.92 points below fair value, at 1548.5. The S&P has experienced a seven-day rally that has pushed it to its highest level in more than five years.

Mark Newton, chief technical analyst at Greywolf, suggested that aggressive traders should look to short the S&P 500.

"We've reached a time when upside should prove difficult to come by after eight of the last 10 trading days of positive gains, and quite a few time relationships to former highs and lows over the last year and last 100 years are now present which historically have proven important," Newton explained.

Futures for the Nasdaq were off 6 points, or 5.76 points below fair value, at 2799.5.

Jeffrey Sica, the president and chief investment officer of Sica Wealth Management, is cautious about the improvement in headline economic numbers and urges investors to look deeper into the reports.

He said, for instance, that while Friday's unemployment data came in better than expected, the contraction in the labor participation rate continues and is evidence of a rapidly shrinking work force. At the same time, persistence in the erosion of the participation could bring the jobless rate to near the Federal Reserve's 6.5% unemployment target, which would be the catalyst for discontinuation of quantitative easing.

In such a scenario, Sica said he sees the economy contracting and the quality of jobs continuing to erode income and savings of most Americans, "which will force the Fed to restart easing or admit the reality that QE is almost entirely ineffective in stimulating the economy in a meaningful way, long term."

Sica said right now he would continue to take profits and refrain from putting any new money to work in the stock market.

Sica recommends putting money into cash or short-term Treasuries, precious metals, short-term high-yield corporate bonds, Treasury inflation protected securities, real estate and agriculturals.

House Republicans were expected Tuesday to present a strategy to reduce spending by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats were expected to bring forth a proposal Wednesday consisting on a combination of spending reductions and tax hikes.

Across-the-board spending cuts took effect on March 1 after legislators weren't able to reach a deal to avert the "sequestration." Jan Hatzius, the chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs, said that though funding was cut March 1, most of the cuts won't take effect until April or, in some cases, even later.

No major U.S. economic releases were expected on Tuesday.

Gold for April delivery was rising $3.80 to $1,581.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while April crude oil futures were falling 21 cents to $91.85 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 6/32, diluting the yield to 2.042%. The dollar was up 0.16%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.1% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.03%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down 0.87% and Japan's Nikkei settled off 0.28%.

In corporate news, Costco Wholesale ( COST), the warehouse retailer, posted fiscal second-quarter earnings of $547 million, or $1.24 share, up from year-earlier earnings of $394 million, or 90 cents a share. Shares were rising 1.5% in premarket trading.

VeriFone Systems ( PAY) said Monday that CEO Douglas Bergeron was stepping down after 12 years with the maker of terminals for electronic payments. Shares were popping nearly 8%.

Yum! Brands ( YUM) reported Monday a decline of 20% in its same-store sales in China for January and February, but that was better than the company's forecast of a 25% drop. Shares were jumping more than 5.5%.

KKR ( KKR) is considering teaming with other private-equity firms to pursue a buyout of Life Technologies ( LIFE), The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Life shares were advancing close to 3%. KKR shares were up marginally.

Urban Outfitters ( URBN) posted fourth-quarter net income of $82.5 million, or 56 cents a share, compared with year-earlier earnings of $39.3 million, or 27 cents a share. Shares were shedding nearly 3%.

Diamond Foods ( DMND) shares were plunging more than 6% after the packaged-food company posted lower-than-expected quarterly results as sales at its nuts segment declined 29.6%. The company's snacks segment saw net sales grow 7.2%.

U.S. Silica Holdings ( SLCA) announced a secondary offering of 8.5 million common shares by a major stockholder.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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