Stock futures were little changed on Tuesday as investors awaited news from a press conference Wednesday with President-elect Donald Trump, his first since winning the U.S. presidential election.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.02%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.05%, and Nasdaq futures added 0.04%.
Trump could provide details Wednesday on his policy positions, including infrastructure spending plans and policies intended to boost job growth.
The Dow has struggled to breach 20,000 in recent days after coming close to the milestone on Friday. The Dow has rocketed higher since the November presidential election as investors grew more confident in Trump's infrastructure spending plans.
"Expectations continue to run high that regulations will be rolled back, allowing corporate earnings to improve and support the higher markets," said Paul Nolte, senior vice president of Kingsview Asset Management. "Of course, the new administration could usher in trade wars with a variety of trading partners, boost inflation by profligate spending that would also push interest rates higher."
Crude oil prices levelled off on Tuesday after slumping to a three-week low a day earlier. Commodities slumped after Friday's weekly reading on U.S. drilling activity showed an increase for the tenth consecutive week in a row. Trading has been erratic since the beginning of the year when a production freeze agreement among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries went into effect.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.2% to $52.07 a barrel on Tuesday morning.
Investors were also in wait-and-see mode ahead of the kickoff to the fourth-quarter earnings season later in the week. Average earnings for the S&P 500 in the fourth quarter are expected to increase 4.4% from the same period a year earlier. Earnings growth would mark the second straight quarter of gains after the third quarter broke an earnings recession that lasted for four consecutive quarters.
"We believe investors are pricing in a beat for fourth-quarter earnings," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at S&P Capital IQ. "EPS growth hasn't fallen short of expectations since first quarter 2009 and the past two quarters had solid beat rates of 4.9% and 3.5%, respectively. As long as investors don't anticipate a greater-than-average beat, fourth-quarter earnings shouldn't rock the market.
Yahoo! (YHOO) shares were on watch following news CEO Marissa Mayer and company co-founder David Filo will step down from the Internet company's board upon closing of the $4.8 billion sale of its core assets to Verizon Communications (VZ) . Mayer assumed the role in 2012. When the Yahoo! sale to Verizon is completed, the remaining Yahoo! assets will be renamed Altaba, which will include a 15% stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba (BABA) and a 35.5% stake in Yahoo Japan.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) shares gained 11.7% in premarket trading after the company agreed to sell three skincare lines to L'Oreal (LRLCY) for $1.3 billion, and its Dendreon cancer business to China's Sanpower Group for $820 million.
Zimmer Biomet (ZBH) climbed in premarket trading after guiding for a better-than-expected fourth quarter. The company anticipates fourth-quarter sales of $2.013 billion, above consensus of $1.97 billion, while full-year sales are expected to rise 28% to $7.68 billion.
Pluristem Therapeutics (PSTI) rose after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a late-stage trial of a treatment of critical limb ischemia, a condition which limits blood flow and often leads to limb amputation. The medical development company said it would push a Phase III study of its PLX-PAD cells toward a goal of marketing approval.