Stock futures are rising Tuesday as investors look to the U.S. presidential election and await corporate earnings reports.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Tuesday as investors looked to the U.S. presidential election and awaited corporate earnings from companies such as AOL(:AOL).
Investors also will be keeping a close eye on the congressional races, with the results particularly important in connection with handling the looming fiscal cliff. With many expecting Congress to remain divided, economists at Bank of America are anticipating "a prolonged negotiation process" on this issue.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 33 points, or 37.56 points above fair value, at 13,086. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 3.8 points, or 3.34 points above fair value, at 1415. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 11.25 points, or 6.29 points above fair value, at 2673.
"Equity markets in presidential election years do not follow a consistent pattern like markets in midterm election years. However, median equity performance in the weeks following very competitive elections slightly outpaces performance following less competitive contests," Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs, said in a note. "That said, this election is unusual in that it will be immediately followed by debate on the fiscal cliff, and thus resolution of the election will reduce, but not eliminate, policy uncertainty."
Hatzius cautioned that "given that pre-election polling indicates that, at least at a national level, this election is closer than most others over the last 50 years, there is a clear risk that the results may not be known by the end of Nov. 6."
The most recent polls suggest that President Barack Obama has a slight lead over Republican candidate Mitt Romney in major swing states.
"A Democrat victory in the Senate will mean another divided Congress that may once again descend into partisan bickering with little or nothing to show for it. If the sun shines on the Republicans, however, the GOP will control Congress and be able to usher through their legislative favorites," noted noted Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management.
Overseas markets were trading mixed Tuesday. The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.53%, while the DAX in Germany was gaining 0.54%. Japan's Nikkei average finished down 0.36% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.28%.
Gold for December delivery was rising $7.70 to $1,690.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts were up 43 cents at $86.08 a barrel.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 7/32, pushing the yield up to 1.712%. The dollar was down 0.03%, according to the U.S. dollar index.
In corporate news, AOL is expected to report its third-quarter results before Tuesday's opening bell, and analysts are calling for earnings of 17 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $521.6 million.
Shares of the Web content company have more than doubled so far this year, hitting a 52-week high of $37.94 on Oct. 17. In late August, AOL announced plans to distribute a special cash dividend of $5.15 a share to stockholders before the end of the year.
Zillow(:Z) , the real estate information company, on Monday gave a soft revenue outlook for the final quarter of 2012.
The company also announced a small acquisition, spending $12 million in cash and 150,000 restricted shares to purchase Mortech, a Lincoln, Neb.-based mortgage software and services company.
Nike (:NKE) is close to a deal to sell its Cole Haan brand to Apax Partners for about $500 million, The New York Times reported. A deal could be announced next week, according to two people briefed on the matter, the newspaper said.
Express Scripts (:ESRX) reported Monday a 20% increase in third-quarter profit but warned that 2013 could bring a weaker business climate.
Stock exchange operator NYSE Euronext (:NYX) said Tuesday that third-quarter net revenue declined 21% to $559 million amid weaker trading in the U.S. and Europe. Net income fell 42%.
-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.
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