By Peter Nurse
Investing.com — U.S. stocks are seen opening marginally higher Tuesday, with investors focusing on an investor day at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), earnings from retail giant Target (NYSE:TGT) and consumer confidence data.
At 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 70 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 10 points, or 0.3%, higher and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 36 points, or 0.3%.
The major indices posted small gains on Monday, but are on course on the last trading day of February to register a negative month after last week’s rout led to the worst week so far this year.
The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average is on track to lose 3.5% this month, the broad-based S&P 500 is down 2.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite set to drop 1%.
The overarching concern among investors is that borrowing costs will continue to rise as inflation remains considerably higher than the Federal Reserve’s target and has so far resisted aggressive attempts at taming.
Inflation for a broad array of services in the United States remains “stubbornly high,” Federal Reserve Governor Philip Jefferson said on Monday, adding that he was under “no illusion” that inflation would return quickly to the Fed’s 2% target.
Similar concerns exist in Europe, as data released earlier Tuesday showed that consumer prices in both France and Spain edged higher in February despite a series of rate hikes from the European Central Bank.
Back in the U.S., there are numbers on house prices as well as the Richmond manufacturing index, but the main focus will be on the February consumer confidence release, which will offer up the public’s views on economic prospects and inflation expectations.
In the corporate sector, retail giant Target reported a surprise rise in holiday-quarter sales, helped by increased traffic from discount-hungry customers. More earnings reports are due, including from car parts retailer AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:NCLH).
Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs holds an investor’s day, at which the investment bank is expected to unveil its medium-term financial goals.
Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) stock traded over 6% higher premarket after the company beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines, helped by winning new enterprise customers.
Oil prices rose Tuesday, but the benchmark contracts are still on course for monthly losses amid concerns further U.S. interest rate hikes will hit demand in the world’s largest economy.
Attention later in the session will fall on the latest U.S. oil stocks data due from the American Petroleum Institute industry group, ahead of the official data from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday for further clues on crude demand in the world’s largest consumer of energy.
By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.6% higher at $76.91 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.4% to $83.22. Both contracts are on course to drop around 4% this month.
Additionally, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,816.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0611.