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Stocks May Regain Ground Following Yesterday's Sell-Off - U.S. Commentary

After showing a substantial move to the downside in the previous session, stocks may regain some ground in early trading on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 9 points.

The markets may benefit from bargain hunting following yesterday's sell-off, which pulled the Dow back below the 13,000 level. The blue chip index ended the session at its worst closing level in a month.

Nonetheless, trading activity may be somewhat subdued ahead of the release of quarterly results from aluminum giant Alcoa (AA) after the close of trading.

Alcoa is typically the first Dow component to report its quarterly results, and the release of its results is seen as the unofficial start of the earnings season.

Not long after the open, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its monthly report on wholesale inventories. Inventories are expected to increase by about 0.6 percent in February following a 0.4 percent increase in January.

Among individual stocks, Supervalu (SVU) is moving notably higher in pre-market trading after the supermarket operator reported better than expected adjusted fourth quarter earnings and forecast full-year earnings above analyst estimates.

Marathon Oil (MRO) may also be in focus after the energy company said it has agreed to sell substantially all of its Alaska assets to Hilcorp Alaska. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, shares of ViroPharma (VPHM) are likely to come under pressure on news of the FDA's approval of generic versions of the company's drug Vancocin. ViroPharma is down by 20 percent in pre-market trading.

After moving sharply lower at the open, stocks saw continued weakness throughout the trading day on Monday. A negative reaction to Friday's monthly jobs report weighed on the markets, generating broad based selling pressure.

The major averages climbed well off their worst levels of the day but still closed firmly in negative territory. The Dow fell 130.55 points or 1 percent to 12,929.59, the Nasdaq dropped 33.42 points or 1.1 percent to 3,047.08 and the S&P 500 slid 15.88 points or 1.1 percent to 1,382.20.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday. While Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. The French CAC 40 Index is down by 1.6 percent, while the German DAX Index is down by 1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.9 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.25 to $102.21 a barrel after sliding $0.85 to $102.46 a barrel on Monday. Meanwhile, gold futures are climbing $6.10 to $1,650 an ounce. In the previous session, the precious metal rose $13.80 to $1,643.90 an ounce.

Among currencies, the U.S. dollar is trading at 81.01 yen compared to the 81.49 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.3125 compared to yesterday's $1.3106.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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