(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a lower opening on the Wall Street as investors eye quarterly earnings from bellwether Alcoa Inc. (AA).
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures slid 20 points to 13,287. The Nasdaq futures edged 1.25 points lower to 2,716.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures fell 2.60 points to 1,453.20.
Aluminum producer Alcoa will report its financial results after the market closes, thereby officially kick-starting the fourth-quarter earnings season. New York-based Alcoa's results are eyed closely as it usually is the first Dow component to report earnings, and investors often watch AA's results to gauge how earnings may fare for other companies.
There are no major U.S. economic data due to be released on Tuesday.
On Monday, U.S. stocks closed on a negative note as investors remained cautious before the start of the corporate-earnings season.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AA, MON, YUM, SHLD, CAG, PLXS, STSI
In corporate news, Alcoa (NYSE: AA) may be in focus ahead of its quarterly report. The company is expected to earn 6 cents a share on revenue of $5.60 billion for the fourth quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. In the year-ago quarter, the company reported a loss of 3 cents a share on revenue of $5.99 billion.
Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) jumped 3.92 percent in premarket after the company posted a jump in first-quarter earnings and sales with strong contribution from the corn seed and traits business and the company lifted its forecast for the full year.
Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) retreated 4.09 percent in premarket after the parent of the Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains expects fourth-quarter same-store sales in China to fall 6 percent, a sharper drop than its previous forecast of a drop 4 percent.
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) added 2.52 percent in premarket after retailer said Chief Executive Officer Louis D'Ambrosio will step down for family health matters. The company posted a drop of 1.8 percent in comparable store sales for the nine-week period ended December 29.
ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) may be in focus after the foodmaker priced a public offering of about 8.07 million shares at $29.75 per share.
Star Scientific Inc. (NASDAQ: STSI) surged 14.96 percent in premarket after the producer of dietary supplements reported "positive" initial results from a study that analyzes the impact of anatabine dietary supplementation on thyroid health.
Plexus Corp. (NASDAQ: PLXS) declined 3.33 percent after the company expects earnings and revenue for the first quarter below its guidance. The company said Networking/Communications sector revenue was substantially below its expectations.
European markets traded in green, with Germany's DAX inching up 0.06 percent to trade at 7,737.83. France's CAC40 dropped 0.55 percent to trade at 3,725.21. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.16 percent to trade at 6,073.97.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dropped 0.41 percent to close at 2,276.07. Japan's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.86 percent to finish at 10,508.06. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.94 percent to end at 23,111.19. India's BSE Sensex ended at 19,742.52, up 0.26 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures advanced 0.30 percent to $93.47 per barrel. Gold futures rose 0.33 percent to $1,651.70 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.19 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3092, and the British pound dipped 0.29 percent to 1.6070. The dollar declined 0.26 percent against the Japanese yen to 87.5600.