No momentum seen for bulls
U.S. stocks set to open lower Wednesday, with little carryover from the biggest Dow gain in eight months.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks were set for a slight pullback at Wednesday's open, indicating little follow through for the prior session's rally.
Oil prices edged higher ahead of the 10:30 a.m. ET report on U.S. fuel inventories, although they well were off of earlier highs for the morning. U.S. light crude gained 13 cents to $60.82 a barrel in electronic trading.
There are no economic reports early Wednesday, but at 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will release its so-called Beige Book, which includes reports on the state of the economy in the nation's different regions.
Markets in Asia closed mostly higher, although Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost ground. Still the now closely watched Shanghai A-share Index gained nearly 2 percent. The Asian markets have been setting the tone for trading worldwide for much of the last week.
Stocks in Europe also were mixed in early trading.
Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co., said he wasn't surprised to see futures lower after Tuesday's rally, especially with the mixed results overseas.
"It was a pretty significant move to the upside yesterday," he said. "I think we're still trading on psychology and momentum and not fundamentals. I don't think we should be surprised that in the early trading that futures are pointing lower."
Hogan said concerns over this Friday's February employment report could also be weighing on the markets, given current concerns of a slowing U.S. economy.
"There's more risk to the downside for that number," said Hogan. "I think that Friday's jobs report will be the next time that we time that we re-couple with fundamentals."
In corporate news, Citigroup's (Charts) $10.8 billion tender offer to buy Japanese broker Nikko Cordial was rejected as too low by Chicago-based investment house Harris Associates, its largest shareholder. But Reuters reports the deal is still likely to be accepted after Mizuho Financial Group, which like Citigroup owns 5 percent of the firm, indicated it would not launch a counterbid.
DaimlerChrysler (Charts) CEO Dieter Zetsche told reporters at the Geneva auto show that it would be difficult to break up Chrysler Group to sell its different brands separately. There has been speculation that potential buyers could want one brand, such as Jeep, without taking on the whole North American unit.
In more bad news for Microsoft, Apple (Charts) announced in a posting late Tuesday that the new version of its iTunes music downloading software is still having compatibability problems with the Windows Vista operating system, which could cause problems for an iPod music player upon ejection from a PC.
Chico's FAS (Charts) saw shares rise nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading even after the women's apparel retailer reported a sharp drop in earnings that missed forecasts. But the company's guidance that current Wall Street forecasts for the current fiscal year are reasonable assured investors who had been worried of another profit warning.