Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

June 3, 2014: 7:56 AM ET
nyse premarkets 060214
The Dow and S&P 500 hit new records on Monday.
LONDON (CNNMoney)

Another day, another record? Anything's possible.

Here are 4 things you need to know before the bell:

1. Markets lacking direction: The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 have been on an impressive record-setting run, but there's a lack of clear market direction Tuesday.

U.S. stock futures were mixed ahead of the opening bell.

The Dow and S&P are indicating they could rise when trading begins, but a move higher is not guaranteed. The Nasdaq is looking relatively weak.

U.S. stocks ended mixed Monday. While the Dow and S&P hit new records, the Nasdaq limped to the finish line by closing slightly lower.

2. Potential market movers -- Hillshire Brands, Google, Apple, Dollar General: Shares surged before the bell for Hillshire Brands (HSH) after the food company's board of directors authorized takeover discussions with Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) and Tyson Foods (TSN), which are in a bidding war to buy Hillshire.

Shares in Google (GOOG) were weak ahead of the open after the Wall Street Journal reported that the tech giant plans to spend over $1 billion on a "fleet of satellites" designed to improve internet access in remote areas.

Apple (AAPL) slipped in premarket trading amid a lukewarm reception for its iOS 8 operating system.

Dollar General (DG) shares dropped after the retailer reported a modest quarterly gain in sales and profit that failed to meet expectations.

Related: Fear & Greed Index still idling in neutral

3. Economic action: At 10 a.m. ET the U.S. Census Bureau will release its latest data on monthly factory orders. Later in the day investors will get a sense of how the auto sector is performing as data on vehicle sales is released for May.

Further afield, central banks in Australia and India elected to maintain policy.

A final reading from HSBC on China's manufacturing activity for May lagged market expectations.

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

4. International movements: European markets declined in midday trading following reports of a lower-than-expected eurozone Consumer Price Index for May ahead of Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank.

"Inflation, or indeed the lack thereof, is understood to be a key spur for official action," wrote Marc Chandler, currency strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman, in a market report. "It simply reinforces confidence that the ECB will cut rates on Thursday.

Asian markets were mixed.

Markets
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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,164.95 -251.90 -1.45%
Nasdaq 4,635.24 -48.17 -1.03%
S&P 500 1,994.99 -26.26 -1.30%
Treasuries 1.68 -0.08 -4.34%
Data as of 4:08am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.15 -0.28 -1.81%
Apple Inc 117.16 -1.74 -1.46%
Microsoft Corp 40.40 -1.61 -3.83%
AT&T Inc 32.92 -0.04 -0.12%
General Electric Co 23.89 -0.19 -0.79%
Data as of Jan 30

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