Stocks: Taking cues from earnings

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U.S. stocks headed for a muted open Tuesday as investors start the holiday-shortened week with an eye on corporate earnings.

Shares of DuPont (DD) rose in premarket trading after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and issued an upbeat outlook.

Verizon (VZ) reported a wider quarterly loss ahead of the open. Wireless carriers are expected to have a rough quarter as profit margins get dinged by high subsidies paid to Apple (AAPL) for the iPhone 5.

Also ahead of the opening bell, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) reported earnings and sales that were roughly in line with estimates. Google (GOOG) and IBM (IBM) are on tap to report after the market close.

Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 3.8% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P's Capital IQ.

U.S. stock futures were little changed.

Investors will also get another look at the strength of the housing recovery Tuesday, with data on existing home sales due from the National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. ET.

After a mostly flat trading day Friday, the Dow and S&P 500 climbed during the last hours of trading to finish the week at their highest levels since December 2007. U.S. markets were closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

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European markets edged lower in morning trading, while Asian markets ended mixed.

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Japan's Nikkei ended narrowly weaker and the yen firmed slightly against the dollar after the Bank of Japan raised its inflation target and announced unlimited government bond purchases from next year. The move was heavily trailed and some analysts said the bank could have been even more ambitious in its bid to stimulate growth.

"Today's announcements do represent a significant step forward from the BoJ," analysts at Daiwa Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients. "Even if they are not necessarily the seismic shift in policy that the economy might require."

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