Investing.com – U.S. stock futures pointed to a broadly lower open on Tuesday, as markets awaited the release of minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting later in the day.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 0.65%, the S&P 500 futures indicated a decline of 0.7%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures signaled a 0.65% drop.
Markets were awaiting the release of the minutes from the Fed’s August 9 meeting, at which it pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low “at least through mid-2013.”
Speeches from Fed Open Market Committee members Charles Evans and Narayana Kocherlakota will also be closely watched for any hints regarding further easing measures after Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said Friday that there was no need for an immediate round of additional stimulus but left options open.
Shares in the financial sector were down in pre-market trade, after rallying sharply in the previous session. Bank of America shares fell 2.2%, Citigroup saw shares decline 1.25%, while U.S.-listed shares of Deutsche Bank dropped 3.1%.
Shares in drug developer NuPathe plummeted 49.5% after announcing that the U.S. Federal Drug Administration rejected its Zeltrix migraine drug. NuPathe had planned to launch Zeltrix in the first half of 2012.
In earnings news, food retailer Winn-Dixie Stores saw shares drop 5.1% after reporting a 47% decline in fiscal fourth quarter net profit, as higher operating and administrative expenses weighed.
On the upside, discount retailer Family Dollar Stores saw shares jump 3.9% after saying second quarter revenue rose 11% to USD3.58 billion. The upbeat results prompted the company to raise its full-year earnings outlook.
Other stocks in focus included U.S. defense conglomerate General Dynamics, which was awarded a USD3.7 billion contract from the U.S Army to provide computer hardware over the next five years.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed amid lingering concerns over the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis. The EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.5%, France’s CAC 40 slumped 0.4%, Germany's DAX sank 1%, while Britain's FTSE 100 returned from Monday’s holiday to trade sharply higher, rallying 1.9%
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 1.16%, as exporters were boosted after Monday’s U.S. consumer spending data.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on consumer confidence as well as an industry report on house price inflation.