U.S. futures are virtually flat in premarket trading on Tuesday, giving no signal as to which way they will swing in intraday trading today.
The market climbed sharply on Monday, reversing a decline that ended an otherwise strong week of trading.
Crude futures continue to be a big indicator for the market, as prices that were falling earlier in trading have reversed course and sent the commodity soaring. West Texas crude for April delivery is up $1.84 to $31.48 per barrel, while industry benchmark Brent crude futures for April delivery are up $0.28 to $34.97.
Oil prices will be under scrutiny today as Saudi Arabia's oil minister is scheduled to make a speech in Houston this morning. Last week, Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, agreed with Russian officials to freeze output at January production levels in an effort to combat the oversupply that has resulted in the sharp decline in oil prices.
World markets reversed their strong showing from yesterday, with indices from Asia to the U.K. all falling in the red. The Nikkei in Japan closed trading down 0.4%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.3%, while the Shanghai Composite was the weakest performer, falling 0.8% today. The DAX, FTSE 100, and CAC 40 were all also declining with about three hours left in trading today.
Investors will be watching for the release of the existing home sales numbers by the U.S. National Association of Retailers today a 10 a.m. EST. The consensus estimate for the month of January is 5.32 million home sales on an annualized basis vs. an outsized 5.46 million home rate in December.
U.S. securities remain in the thick of earnings season. Home Depot (HD) shares were rising premarket following its fourth quarter earnings beat. The company reported a 7.1% rise in international comps year over year, while U.S. comps rose 9%. The retailer also raised its dividend to a quarterly rate of $0.69 per share from $0.59 per share.
Office Depot (ODP) will be under negative pressure today after the company missed analysts' fourth quarter top and bottom line expectations.
(Read about stressed out Office Depot.)
Macy's (M) was climbing sharply after topping analysts' fourth quarter earnings expectations. The retailer reported fourth quarter earnings of $1.73 per share on revenue of $8.9 billion. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $1.69 per share on revenue of $8.8 billion.
Looking ahead, Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" viewers on Friday that he was recommending Salesforce.com (CRM) ahead of Wednesday's earnings release. And on Friday, Cramer said he doesn't see J.C. Penney (JCP) being able to buck the trend of soft retail earnings results.