Stocks could lose momentum

Wall Street set to slide after reaching multi-month highs. Fed Chairman Bernanke to give economic outlook.

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By staff

After a strong April, how will the major stock indexes fare in May?
  • They'll be higher
  • They'll be lower
  • They'll be flat

NEW YORK( -- U.S. stocks were poised for a lower open Tuesday, as futures lost their momentum from the previous session, when the major gauges reached multi-month highs.

At 7:43 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average, the Nasdaq-100 and S&P 500 futures were lower, after being up earlier.

Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins in New York.

U.S. stocks climbed Monday, buoyed by optimism about the economic recovery. The Nasdaq rose to a six-month peak while the Dow and S&P 500 reached their highest levels in almost four months.

"It's going to take a powerful catalyst to [continue to] move us forward," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co. "It's always difficult to have follow through when you're up 3%."

Economy: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to give his outlook on the economy to the Joint Economic Committee.

A reading on the services sector of the economy from the Institute for Supply Management, a purchasing managers' group, is also due out.

Banks: The financial sector will remain in focus as investors await the release of the results of the U.S. government's stress tests on banks, which are due out Thursday.

At least 10 of the 19 big banks under review -- including Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) -- may need to boost their capital, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The number of reported banks that may need to boost their capital requirements has been fluctuating in the runup to the release of the results.

Companies: Swiss bank UBS (UBS) reported a $1.76 billion quarterly loss and said it remains cautious about the outlook because the global economy has continued to worsen.

Other companies due to release quarterly results included Kraft Foods (KFT, Fortune 500) and CVS Caremark (CVS, Fortune 500). Walt Disney (DIS, Fortune 500) was expected after the closing bell.

World markets: Stocks in Asia finished the session higher. Japanese and South Korean markets were closed for holidays. In European trading, shares in London were higher, while stocks in Paris and Frankfurt fell.

Oil and money: Oil fell 23 cents a barrel to $54.24. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen, but slipped versus the British pound. To top of page

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