* DuPont posts drop in profit, Verizon impacted by Sandy
* J&J, Google and TI all on tap to report on Tuesday
* Obama begins second term, outlines aggressive agenda
* U.S. shares of RIM surge in premarket after CEO comments
* Dow down 8 pts, S&P down 0.9 pt, Nasdaq up 5 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 22 U.S. stock index futures were
flat on Tuesday as investors held back on making large bets
ahead of an onslaught of corporate earnings after recently
notching five-year highs.
* Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at their highest levels
since December 2007 on Friday, spurred by a strong start to
earnings season. U.S. markets were closed on Monday for a public
* Despite stronger-than-expected financial results from
major companies, including big banks, at the start of the
quarterly reporting season, many investors are worried that the
other earnings reports will reflect economic uncertainty in the
* DuPont, which reported early on Tuesday, posted a
steep drop in earnings on reduced demand for titanium dioxide
paint pigment. Verizon Communications Inc, which along
with DuPont is a Dow component, reported earnings that were
pressured by the impact of Superstorm Sandy, sending shares down
1.1 percent to $42.06 in premarket trading.
* This is a busy week for earnings, with Google Inc
, Johnson & Johnson, Travelers Cos and
Texas Instruments all on tap to report Tuesday. Tech
earnings will be in particular focus after Intel Corp
last week gave a revenue outlook that was below expectations.
* Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings are forecast to
have risen 2.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. That
estimate is above the 1.9 percent forecast from a week ago but
well below the 9.9 percent fourth-quarter earnings forecast from
Oct. 1, the data showed.
* On Tuesday, S&P 500 futures fell 0.9 point and were
below 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 fell 8
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 5 points.
* Monday was a market holiday for Martin Luther King Day in
the United States, and also marked the inauguration of President
Barack Obama's second term, who called for aggressive action on
climate change, economic equality and climate change.
* Markets have recently been pressured by uncertainty
stemming from Washington about the federal debt limit and
spending cuts that could hamper U.S. growth.
* Republican leaders in the House of Representatives said
they aim to pass on Wednesday a nearly four-month extension of
the U.S. debt limit allowing the government to borrow enough to
meet its obligations during that period.
* U.S. shares of Research in Motion jumped
8.9 percent to $17.25 in premarket trading after its chief
executive said the company may consider strategic alliances with
other companies after the launch of devices powered by RIM's new
BlackBerry 10 operating system.
* The Dow and S&P 500 closed at five-year highs on Friday as
the market registered a third straight week of gains on a solid
start to the quarterly earnings season, including from Morgan
Stanley and General Electric Co.