Stocks futures set up for a rally on the first day of March after Chinese equities shot higher on further stimulus from its central bank.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.76%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.7%, and Nasdaq futures gained 0.78%.
China's central bank made more moves to support its economy on Monday after cutting the amount banks are required to hold on reserve. The People's Bank of China cut the reserve requirement by half a percentage point. This marks the fifth time it has cut its reserve requirement in a year. China's stock market didn't have a chance to react to the news with the announcement made late on Monday. China's Shanghai Composite closed 1.8% higher on Tuesday.
Hopes for even more stimulus from the PBOC also spurred China's market rally. China's factory activity worsened in February to its worst level since November 2011, another sign of a significant slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. China's purchasing managers' index fell to 49, indicating a contraction, while its nonmanufacturing PMI read fell to 52.7, its worst growth since late 2008.
Crude oil continued to climb after a 3% gain on Monday. The commodity has had a solid start to the week on high hopes over an agreement between Russia and members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries over a production freeze. Saudi Arabia voiced its support for cooperation to stabilize prices on Monday. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.7% on Tuesday to $34.33 a barrel.
Stocks closed out their third straight month in decline on Monday with a late-day selloff wiping out marginal gains in the final hour. A health care selloff to begin the week led to broad losses across equity markets on Monday.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) added more than 3% in premarket trading, recovering from a steep decline a day earlier after confirming it is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The new investigation is separate from an ongoing one into its purchase of Salix Pharmaceuticals last year. The company was already lower on Monday after withdrawing its financial guidance.
Barclays (BCS) fell 7% after more than halving its dividend to 3 pence a share over the next two years. The bank also announced plans to sell parts of its 62% stake in Barclays Africa with the aim of separating it from its accounts in at least two years. The bank reported a far-wider loss in fiscal 2015 than a year earlier.
Autozone (AZO) shares jumped more than 2% as quarterly sales continued to rise and profit jumped 8% from a year earlier. The car parts retailer reported profit of $7.43 a share, above estimates of $7.28, while revenue rose 5.3% to $2.26 billion. Sales at domestic stores climbed 3.6%.
Dollar Tree (DLTR - Get Report) fell 6% after reporting disappointing sales growth. The discount retailer more than doubled its sales to $5.27 billion, though that came in below estimates of $5.41 billion. The company expects first-quarter earnings between 75 cents and 83 cents a share, on the low-side compared to consensus of 83 cents.
Marathon Oil (MRO - Get Report) slumped 5% after unveiling a new share offering of 135 million common shares, plus an underwriters' option worth up to 20.25 million shares. The oil company plans to use proceeds to bolster its balance sheet. Oil companies have been struggling in a tough commodities market with major miner BHP Billiton (BHP) and NRG Energy (NRG - Get Report) cutting their dividends in recent days.
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE - Get Report) shares were on watch after it said it was considering an offer for the London Stock Exchange Group, only days after news of a possible $28 billion merger with Deutsche Börse. The company, which owns the New York Stock Exchange has yet to make a decision as to whether it will pursue an offer.