Stocks poised to pull back

By CNNMoney.com staff


NEW YORK(CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stocks were poised for a lower open Tuesday amid concerns of a slowdown in China and ahead of the start of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting.

Dow Jones industrial average, Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were lower.

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

Wall Street managed slim gains Monday as investors took the view that the recent selloff was overdone. Also contributing: Ed Whitacre, the acting chief, was named permanent CEO of General Motors and a report showing existing home sales fell 16.7% in December.

But Wall Street appears set for another slump. Philip Isherwood, equities strategist at Evolution Securities, said the markets are dogged by "uncertainty" and "volatility" in the face of earnings expectations for 2010 that might be higher than the corporations can deliver.

World markets: Also on Tuesday, investors around the world were hit by fresh concerns about growth in China.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei dived 1.8%. Major European indexes fell in midday trading.

Federal Reserve: A two-day meeting of central bank policymakers gets underway Tuesday. The Fed is expected to leave rates unchanged at near zero.

Uncertainty over whether Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's term will be renewed continues to hang over markets.

Earnings: Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) reported record quarterly revenue after U.S. markets closed Monday. The company's strong quarter was fueled by iPhone and Macintosh computer sales. The company is gearing up for its widely anticipated announcement of a new tablet computer on Wednesday.

Cash and bonds: The dollar rose against most major international currencies, but slipped against the yen. The price of the 10-year note fell, raising the yield to 3.57%.

Oil and gold: The price of oil fell 79 cents a barrel to $74.47. The price of gold fell by $5.90 per ounce to $1,089.90.

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