* Investors looking for catalysts to spur more gains
* Equities coming off lightest full trading day of 2013
* American Eagle shares plunge in premarket after outlook
* Cognizant Tech rises in premarket trading after results
* Dow up 4 pts, S&P 500 down 2.9 pts, Nasdaq up 2.5 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Aug 6 U.S. stock index futures were
nearly flat on Tuesday as investors sought new catalysts to
extend a recent rally that has taken index to record highs in
Trading volume has been muted, with Monday marking the
lightest full-day action of the year, a sign that market
participants are largely holding pat near historic levels.
Recent market-moving events have moved to the background.
The intense investor focus on Federal Reserve policy has receded
after last week's bearish payroll report suggested the Fed would
not ease its monetary stimulus soon.
In addition, the corporate earnings season is winding down.
While about 100 S&P 500 components are still scheduled to
release results, most of the largest bellwether companies have
"We're in a post-earnings season environment, and it would
take a pretty major catalyst to move us significantly higher
from here," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital
Markets in New York.
"Still, that we've been drifting higher without any major
pullback augurs that there's really support for the levels we're
out now. The only thing that could really take us lower would
have to be something unexpected."
S&P 500 futures fell 2.9 points 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 added 4
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2.5 points.
The S&P 500 has risen for five of the past six weeks,
gaining more than 7 percent over that period. The index closed
at an all-time high on Friday, as did the Dow. The S&P's 50-day
moving average, currently at 1,692.77, could serve as a support
level in any market decline.
American Eagle Outfitters plunged 17 percent in
premarket trading a day after the retailer said its
second-quarter profit would be hurt by weak sales and margins. A
number of analysts subsequently downgraded their views of the
Cognizant Tech rose 3.5 percent to $76 in premarket
trading after the company reported a rise of 20 percent in its
second-quarter revenue, while Fossil Group Inc rose 9.2
percent to $117.31 before the bell after its results.
Archer Daniels Midland reported a drop in profits as
crop supplies tightened in the U.S.
Of the 391 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings
for the second quarter through Monday, 67.8 percent have topped
analysts' expectations, in line with the average beat over the
past four quarters, data from Thomson Reuters showed. About 55
percent have reported revenue above estimates, more than in the
past four quarters but below the historical average.
Shares of the Washington Post Co will be in focus
after Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos agreed to buy the
publishing company's newspaper assets for $250 million.
Credit Suisse downgraded International Business Machines
Corp to "underperform" from "neutral," saying organic
growth would be challenging in the future. The firm cut its
price target on the Dow component by $25 to $175.
Data on U.S. international trade is due at 8:30 a.m., and
the trade gap is seen narrowing to $43.5 billion from $45
billion in the previous month.