Stocks headed for pullback

@CNNMoneyInvest March 6, 2012: 8:33 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open lower on Tuesday, as world markets sold off amid economic growth worries in China and Europe.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were all down about 0.7%. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

European stocks fell Tuesday after the statistical office of the European Union said the continent's economy contracted by 0.3% in the fourth quarter, compared with third-quarter growth of 0.1% in the eurozone and 0.3% in the EU.

Asian markets declined for a second day on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's lower target for China's economic growth -- underscoring the need to make the country's breakneck development more sustainable.

On top of that, there are other potential stumbling blocks, including high gas prices, what appears to be a mild eurozone recession and the continent's outstanding debt problems, said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James.

Stocks have had a good run of late, so it's not a surprise to see some pullback.

"The market has a tendency to get ahead of itself," Brown said, who added that economic data in recent weeks have been "consistent with a gradual recovery."

Without any major economic reports or corporate results on tap Tuesday, trading will likely remain choppy.

"There's still some nervousness out there," said Brown. "I think some of the economic numbers have been a little softer than they appear."

On Capitol Hill, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on job growth and the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on tax reform.

Gas prices break 27-day rise

Investors will also be keeping an eye on energy markets and gas prices. The national average eased Tuesday, dropping three-tenths of a cent to just above $3.76 a gallon, after pushing higher for 27 straight days.

Economy: Investors will be on edge leading up to a big news day on Friday, when the February jobs report will be released. Also coming later this week are reports on consumer credit, productivity and the U.S. trade balance.

U.S. stocks finished in the red Monday, following the path of world markets, after China lowered its annual growth target.

World markets: European stocks were lower in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) dropped 1.0%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany shed 1.4% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) lost 1.7%.

Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) closed down 1.4%, while the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong lost 2.2% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) fell 0.6%.

Companies: Shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK, Fortune 500) were down slightly in premarket trading after the company announced a partnership with KKR (KKR, Fortune 500) to invest in mineral interests and royalties in key domestic oil and gas basins.

Online jobs search firm Monster Worldwide (MWW)'s shares spiked almost 8% after the company announced it had retained Stone Key Partners and BofA Merrill Lynch to review "strategic alternatives."

While the company did not reveal its specific plans, hiring bankers to pursue alternatives often includes options like a potential sale or spin-off.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS, Fortune 500) reported quarterly earnings of 88 cents a share on $1.6 billion in revenue, matching analysts' estimates. Shares were down 1.5% in premarket trading.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar strengthened against the euro and the British pound, but dropped versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for April delivery slipped 70 cents to $106.02 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery fell $13.40 to $1,690.50 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 1.98% from 2% late Wednesday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,959.44 154.64 0.87%
Nasdaq 4,781.42 16.04 0.34%
S&P 500 2,078.54 7.89 0.38%
Treasuries 2.16 -0.01 -0.64%
Data as of 6:01pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Gilead Sciences Inc 92.90 -15.55 -14.34%
Bank of America Corp... 17.71 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 112.94 1.16 1.04%
General Electric Co 25.71 0.09 0.35%
Facebook Inc 81.45 1.57 1.97%
Data as of 4:00pm ET
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
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