Day Ahead: Eyes on the Consumer

 | Feb 25, 2014 | 8:30 AM EST  | Comments
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Despite touching an all-time high on the S&P 500 Monday, the market's mood was cautious Tuesday morning as Wall Street awaits consumer-confidence data that are expected to be less than encouraging. The market was also bracing for key housing reports.

U.S. futures point to a lower open, and European markets continue to pull back from previous highs. Japan's Nikkei 225 showed resilience overnight as Chinese markets fell on monetary tightening by the People's Bank of China.

Stateside, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices comes out at 9 a.m. ET, at the same time that the Federal Housing Finance Agency releases its housing price index. As for the consumer-confidence numbers, due out at 10 a.m., economists are calling for February's reading to dip to 80.1 after January's surprise gain to 80.7. Also out at 10 a.m. will be the Richmond Federal Reserve's manufacturing index.

In earnings, Action Alerts PLUS holdings Home Depot (HD) and Macy's (M) reported results this morning. Starting with Home Depot, the home-improvement chain beat earnings estimates by $0.02 per share with same-store sales that were in line with expectations. The company also raised its dividend. Shares moved about 2% higher in premarket trading.

Meanwhile, retailer Macy's exceeded fiscal fourth-quarter EPS forecasts on an adjusted basis. However, in this all-important quarter for retailers, sales fell just short of views and same-store sales missed by a wide margin: Comps gained just 1.4% vs. an expectation for a 2.5% lift. Shares dipped about 2% in early trading.

Separately, charitable trust holding JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is expected to announce another round of layoffs in its mortgage unit at its investor conference today, according to a published report.

Elsewhere, Cracker Barrel (CBRL) missed EPS views by a penny, citing the harsh winter weather; Domino's Pizza (DPZ) topped profit and sales estimates and raised its dividend; and Toll Bros. (TOL) beat earnings calls by a dime per share.

Look for reports from AMC Entertainment (AMC), DreamWorks (DWA) and JAZZ Pharma (JAZZ), among others, after the close.

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