U.S. Stocks To Open Lower As Focus Turns To Fed

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks were poised for a firmly lower open on Tuesday, as investors mull the market's record gains ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting on interest rates Wednesday.

Shares of Motorola Inc. looked likely to fall after billionaire Carl Icahn failed to get a seat on its board.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced in 24 of the last 27 sessions, marking its longest winning streak since 1927.

"What we're seeing here is a market that has a certain amount of exuberance attached to it, the longest winning streak in 80 years," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 34 points at 13,306, while those for the S&P 500 lost 4 points to 1,510.

Among Dow components, Hewlett-Packard Co. will be in focus after the computer maker raised its earnings and revenue outlook for the second quarter.

Also, Walt Disney & Co. is expected to report quarterly results after the close.

Futures for the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100, were down 6 points at 1,900. Among tech leaders, Cisco Systems Inc. will also post results after the bell.

"I'm not sure this is the long awaited pullback," Avalon's Cardillo said. But " there's a lot of caution ahead of the [Fed] meeting" and "we are definitely overbought."

Meanwhile, telecom shares might see some pressure.

Motorola shares fell 2.4% before the open after it said its shareholders have re-elected the company's board and didn't elect billionaire dissident shareholder Carl Icahn, according to an estimate.

Icahn said he thought he had won the support of many small shareholders, but lacked the backing of key, large investment funds he needed to overpower the Schaumburg, Ill., company's management.

Other markets

With little on the economic docket Tuesday, investors might focus on March wholesale inventories figures due out at 10 a.m.

Investors are now awaiting the Fed's decision on interest rates, and more importantly, its policy statement, on Wednesday.

The dollar declined against the Japanese yen but rose against the euro. Merrill Lynch strategists said its clients would prefer to be long the euro than any other currency and expect the end of the carry trade by 2008. The carry trade involves investors borrowing in low-yielding currencies like the yen and reinvesting elsewhere.

Crude-oil futures rose 9 cents to $61.54 a barrel and gold futures dropped $2.60 to $687.80 an ounce.

Merger Tuesday

Deal news continued unabated, which has provided sustained momentum for the broad market.

Reuters may advance after it and Thomson set out details of a possible merger. According to the firms, Thomson is willing to make a cash-and-shares offer valued, at Monday's close, at $83.16 per U.S.-listed Reuters share, or $17.4 billion. Tom Glocer, the chief executive of Reuters, would run the combined firm.

AK Steel may gain after the Financial Times' Alphaville Web site reported that Arcelor Mittal is in talks to buy the U.S. steel producer in a $4.5 billion, or $40 a share, deal.

By Nick Godt