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Pre-Market: Global Stocks Mixed on Ukraine and China; US Consumer Confidence Expected to Rise


The US Senate and House energy committees will hold a hearing on liquid natural gas exports.

Stocks headed toward a higher open on Tuesday.

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.41% to 16,269. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.37% to 1,856.20. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.35% to 3,623.50.

Investors will be paying attention to consumer confidence and new home sales numbers today, both available at 10:00 a.m. The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index and the State Street Investor Confidence Index will also be published at 10:00 a.m. Two home price indexes, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's HPI and the S&P Case-Shiller HPI, are due an hour earlier. We'll also hear from two regional Fed directors today: Atlanta's Dennis Lockhart speaks at 4:00 p.m. and Philadelphia's Charles Plosser speaks at 7:00 p.m.

The US House and Senate energy committees will hold hearings today on whether the US should ease its restrictions on liquefied natural gas exports. Currently companies can export LNG to a handful of countries with which the US has free trade agreements without the Energy Department's permission.

On the global front, Asian markets ended the session mixed, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) and the Nikkei 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) falling lower. European stocks turned off their largest decline in two weeks, with metals moving higher as hopes for China to enact stimulus measures bolstered investor confidence. The UK's inflation rate dropped to its lowest level since 2009, falling further away from the Bank of England's 2% target. Germany's business confidence index dropped for the first time in five months as the EU's newly issued sanctions against Russia will disrupt trade. The length and severity of that disruption depends on Russia's behavior, of course, which has most recently found the country suspended from the G-8.

On the earnings front, England's budget airlines EasyJet (LON:EZJ) bumped its first-half results forecast up by 25%, saying it expects to lose anywhere from $25 to $35 million less than previously thought. The news picked shares up off a decline from a recent all-time high.

Shares of Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) were down 0.17% in pre-market trading after the company reported higher quarterly sales but a lower quarterly profit, hurt by fewer new generic drug releases.

McCormick & Company (NYSE:MKC) reported higher quarterly profits thanks in part to last year's acquisition of Wahun Asia-Pacific Condiments, which has allowed the Maryland-based spice maker to expand its position in China.

In other stock news, Disney (NYSE:DIS) will acquire YouTube content provider Maker Studios for up to $950 million. Maker drives 5.5 billion monthly views on the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)-owned video hosting service.

King Digital Entertainment Plc will hold a $7.6 billion initial public offering today. The maker of the viral smartphone hit Candy Crush Saga follows in the steps of mobile gaming trailblazer Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), which has lost half its value since its 2011 IPO.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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