US STOCKS-Futures point to slight gains, indexes near records

Tue May 7, 2013 8:58am EDT

* S&P 500 coming off three days of gains, record close

* Investors looking for catalysts after rally

* Fossil rallies after results, Emerson cuts outlook

* Indexes up: Dow 30 pts, S&P 3.3 pts, Nasdaq 7 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to slight gains at the open on Tuesday after the S&P 500 hit another record high, but investors found little reason to push shares higher.

The S&P has risen for three straight days, increasing more than 13 percent this year to eclipse slightly in five months all of 2012's gains.

The gains so far have come on strong corporate results and accommodative policies from the Federal Reserve, two factors that may now be priced into markets.

Equities this year have gone without a sustained pullback as investors use any market decline to add to positions. Many analysts expect markets to trend higher, but some see a near-term pullback, citing a lack of positive catalysts and mixed economic data.

"We're in a bit of a retrenchment week. All the recent catalysts have been priced in and markets are at a level they're comfortable with," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York. "We'll probably be going sideways for awhile."

Recent U.S. jobs data was much stronger than expected and helped fuel market gains, but uneven reports on manufacturing and recession in the euro zone have pointed to slowing growth.

S&P 500 futures rose 3.3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 30 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 7 points.

The S&P 500 climbed 2.2 percent over three days and finished Monday at a record high of 1,617.50. The index also reached an all-time intraday high of 1,619.77.

Recent gains have come on strength in technology and banking share, two groups that are closely tied to the pace of growth.

"If this rotation into cyclical stocks from defensive ones continues, that will be a very healthy sign for us," said Hogan.

In the latest earnings, accessory maker Fossil Inc jumped 4.1 percent to $103 in premarket trading after reporting first-quarter results that were stronger than expected.

Satellite TV provider DirecTV rose 2.8 percent to $59.61 after its profit surged past expectations.

Emerson Electric Co early Tuesday reported second-quarter sales that were slightly below expectations and cut its full-year outlook.

Earnings have largely been positive, with 68.5 percent of S&P 500 companies surpassing estimates so far. At the same time, revenue have been disappointing and second-quarter estimates have fallen as outlooks remain more negative than positive.

Overseas, European shares rose 0.3 percent on positive earnings and expectations that central banks would continue to stimulate the economy.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman late Monday said he plans to sue Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo and Co for violating the terms of a settlement designed to end mortgage servicing abuses. Also on Monday, BofA said it would settle claims related to the financial crisis with MBIA , a guarantor of debt, for $1.6 billion, news that lifted shares in both companies on Monday.

Shares of Bank of America edged 0.3 percent higher to $12.92 in premarket trading.

Wall Street closed modestly higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 pushing further above 1,600 as BofA's settlement with MBIA lifted financial shares. A rally at Apple Inc also boosted markets.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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