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Stocks Poised To Drift Lower On EU Debt Concerns


U.S. stock futures point to a weak opening Tuesday morning following a mixed close in the previous session amid anxiety about debt problems in Ireland and raid on insider trading. Tension following firing by North Korean troops on South Korea and retaliation of the same by the latter, as well as jitters in world markets on contagion impact of Irish debt problems on other European countries such as Portugal and Spain might impact sentiment at open. Key economic data related to third quarter GDP estimates, existing home sales and minutes of the recent FOMC meeting will be in traders' focus for direction.

As at 6.15 a.m ET, the Dow futures were down 48.00 points, the S&P 500 futures were down 6.30 points and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 7.75 points.

On the economic front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its preliminary estimate of third quarter GDP report at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect GDP growth for the quarter to be upwardly revised to 2.4% from earlier an earlier estimate of 2.0% provided last month.

At 10.00 a.m ET, the National Association of Realtors will release its report on existing home sales for October. Economists estimate existing home sales of 4.42 million for the month.

At 2.00 p.m ET, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its November 3rd Federal Open Market Committee meeting in which quantitative easing measures to extend $600 billion over the next few months has been taken and pronounced. Traders might be keen to read between the lines more so to ascertain the central bank's view on the economy.

Before the markets open for trading, Brown Shoe (BWS), Campbell Soup (CPB), Cracker Barrel (CBRL), Daktronics (DAKT), Eaton Vance (EV), Fred's (FRED), Hormel Foods (HRL) and Medtronic (MDT) are among the major companies that will release their quarterly report cards.

Guess? (GES) and Verigy (VRGY) are among the major companies that will release their quarterly results after the market closes for trading.

Traders will also react to results/announcements made after the markets close for trading in the previous session.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) said that its fourth quarter profit rose 5% from last year, as revenue increased 8% due to strength in its server, PC and printer businesses. The company's quarterly earnings per share, excluding items, also came in above analysts' expectations.

Chipmaker Analog Devices Inc. (ADI: News ), said Monday its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled from last year, driven by double-digit revenue growth in most of its end markets. Quarterly earnings came in ahead of analysts' expectations, as did revenue.

Speech, imaging, and keypad solutions provider Nuance Communications, Inc. (NUAN) reported a drop in fourth quarter profit, as revenue increases were offset by higher quarterly expenses. Nevertheless, adjusted earnings for the quarter surpassed estimates, while revenues fell short.

Oil Light sweet crude oil for January delivery is presently quoted at $81.42 a barrel, down $0.32 a barrel from its previous close of $81.74 a barrel in New York on Monday.

Dollar The US dollar is presently losing some of the gains against the euro, the pound and the yen in Asian trading session in early European trading

World Markets Asian markets open for trading on Tuesday, except the Japanese market which is closed for a holiday, ended sharply lower in negative territory amid increasing concerns that the contagion effect of Ireland's debt crisis might spread to other countries such as Portugal and Spain. Threatening of war clouds following exchange of fire between the North Korea and the South Korea also impacted traders' sentiment. The European markets are presently trading in negative territory on debt concerns but much off the lows.

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