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Pre-Market: Consumer Price Index Drops; Chinese Yuan Pushes Critical Level

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After the referendum, Russia moves forward to annex Crimea.

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Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Tuesday.

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose to 0.32% at 16,271. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.33% to 1,856.80. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, climbing 0.31% to 3,662.75.

The US Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% in February, with an increase in food prices driving the gain. The energy index declined as gasoline prices fell.  Meanwhile, February construction on new US homes dipped 0.2% from the month before, failing to meet expectations that housing starts would rise 3.4%. These numbers come a day before the Fed conducts its first FOMC meeting with Janet Yellen at its head. The central bank is expected to keep pace with cutting $10 billion per month from its QE program.

Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) reported its revenue grew 10.2% and its net losses narrowed in the fourth quarter. The company confirmed earlier reports and said it plans to spin off Hertz Equipment Rental Corp for $2.5 billion. A portion of the proceeds will go toward a $1 billion share-repurchase program when the deal closes in early 2015.

In the latest attempt for shareholders to gain proxy access rights, shareholders of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) will vote to ask the company to give large shareholders the ability to nominate board members. A similar proposal failed to get enough votes last year. Shareholders at 20 different companies are expected to consider proxy access proposals this year, making the outcome of the Disney vote particularly significant. 

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) and Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE) will both report earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday. Oracle, which has recently remained quiet on the acquisition front, is expected to report earnings of $0.70 per a share and $9.36 billion in revenue. Adobe, which is trading just below its 52-week high, is expected to report $0.25 EPS and $990.3 million in revenue. Shares of Oracle were up 1.26% in pre-market trading; Adobe rose 0.70%

Asian markets were mostly up overnight while European stocks fell after Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a draft of a bill to annex Crimea. Putin addressed Russia's parliament this morning, asserting Crimea "has always been an inalienable part of Russia." The news sent the Russian ruble lower, while investors moved into nickel, which rose 1.4%.

In China, developer Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate defaulted on $400 million worth of bank loans on Tuesday. This is one of a number of hits the world's second-largest economy took overnight. Five banks including Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) expect the yuan to weaken against the dollar for the first time since 2009. The yuan is trading just below 6.20 per dollar, and analysts warn that a move above this level would result in billions of dollars of losses for Chinese companies that use complex hedging products. Meanwhile, China's home price inflation dropped for the second month in a row in February

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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