* S&P 500 has been unable to close at a record this week
* Lowe's rallies in premarket after results
* Jan new home sales data on tap, seen falling slightly
* Futures up: Dow 20 pts, S&P 2.3 pts, Nasdaq 5 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Feb 26 U.S. stock index futures
pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street Wednesday,
indicating the S&P 500 would again make a run at record levels
that have been serving as resistance.
* While some positive results, including from Target Corp
and Lowe's Cos Inc, supported individual shares,
broader indexes struggled to break out of their recent trading
* The S&P hit an all-time intraday high on Monday, before
shares lost ground and the S&P was unable to end at a record
close. On Tuesday, indexes fluctuated between gains and losses
throughout the day, ultimately ending lower after the S&P failed
to break above Monday's record.
* The index is currently 0.7 percent below its all-time
high, and advancing solidly beyond that may be difficult, given
a dearth of positive catalysts. Recent economic data has come in
below forecasts, and while many blame that on the impact of a
harsh winter rather than worsening fundamentals, investors are
looking for evidence the market's valuation is justified.
* The CBOE Volatility index, a measure of investor
anxiety, has declined for four straight sessions, dropping 11.8
percent over that period to extremely low levels.
* Target shares rose 2 percent in premarket trading, even as
it said net profit was almost halved in the holiday quarter due
to a massive data breach and that costs relating to the event
could hurt future profits.
* Lowe's rose 3.6 percent to $49.85 in premarket trading
after the home improvement retailer reported earnings and sales
growth and an additional stock buyback program of $5 billion.
The results come a day after peer Home Depot also posted
* S&P 500 futures rose 2.3 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 20
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 5 points.
* Market moves may be slight until Thursday, when Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addresses the Senate Banking
Committee in a semiannual testimony about monetary policy. Her
comments will be scoured for insight into the extent to which an
unexpectedly cold winter has impacted economic activity, and for
confirmation the Fed will maintain its stimulus-trimming
* Investors are looking ahead to the January reading on new
home sales, due at 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), which is expected
to have dropped slightly from the prior month.
* Both Chesapeake Energy Corp and First Solar Inc
fell in premarket trading after posting declines in
earnings. First Solar fell 14 percent a day after the solar
panel maker reported that its fourth-quarter net income fell 58
percent, while Chesapeake slipped 2.75 percent after it swung to
a net loss on charges relating to employee termination costs.
* Dollar Tree Inc fell 4.3 percent to $50.40 before
the bell after giving a full-year profit outlook.
* Anika Therapeutics Inc soared 38 percent to
$47.56 in premarket trading a day after it said the Food and
Drug Administration had approved its drug to treat pain and
improve joint mobility in patients with osteoarthritis of the
knee, more than four years after it first filed for approval.