U.S. stocks appear headed for a relatively flat open Tuesday as investors eye developments in Europe, along with some earnings and economic readings at home.
Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were all narrowly higher. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Sunday's election in Greece yielded a victory for the pro-bailout party and eased fears that the country will soon exit the euro. The winning New Democracy party could announce a coalition government as soon as Tuesday.
But as fears of an imminent Greek exit from the euro recede, banking and debt worries in Spain have moved into greater focus. Spain's 10-year yield moved back up above 7% on Monday, raising worries about the country's ability to stave off a bailout. The yield remained above 7% Tuesday.
Leaders of the Group of 20 nations conclude a meeting in Mexico on Tuesday. Europe is at the top of the agenda, though analysts aren't expecting any significant policy announcements.
Anticipation is higher about the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting, which ends Wednesday. Some observers believe the Fed may announce another round of bond buying or plans to continue its so-called Operation Twist, which extends the maturities of debt held by Treasury.
In the corporate world, business software maker Oracle made a surprise earnings announcement after the close Monday, lifting its shares.
U.S. stocks ended mixed Monday after a day of choppy trading following the election in Greece. But CNNMoney's Fear & Greed index showed investors' level of fear continued to lessen.
Economy: In May, home builders filed for the greatest number of building permits since September 2008, the government reported Tuesday. Permits came in at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 780,000, easily topping forecasts of 725,000 from economists surveyed by Briefing.com. Housing starts, which are more affected by weather than are permits, fell slightly to an annual rate of 708,000, a bit short of forecasts.
Companies: Shares of retailer JC Penney tumbled 5.5% in premarket trading after it announced late Monday that its president had left the company, effective immediately. Michael Francis was hired away from rival Target with great hopes in November to lead Penney's marketing efforts, but in May the company announced disappointing sales that sent its share price sharply lower.
Even before Tuesday's premarket slide Penney shares were down 31% for the year.
Drugstore chain Walgreens announced Tuesday it was buying a 45% equity ownership stake in Alliance Boots, the Switzerland-based drug wholesaler that is a major global drugstore chain. Walgreens will pay $4 billion in cash and an additional $2.7 billion in stock for the stake, and have the right to purchase the remaining 55% of the company within three years.
Shares of Walgreens which were initially higher in heavy premarket trading on the news, then turned lower and were down 3.1% about an hour before the market open.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, this time to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on the bank's $2 billion trading loss. In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee last week, Dimon said he couldn't defend the trades that led to the bank's massive loss and said executives could subject to clawbacks.
Oracle shares shot up 5.2% in premarket trading. The company made an unscheduled earnings release late Monday that showed an operating profit of 82 cents a share, topping not only the consensus forecast but also the most bullish estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Oracle also announced a $10 billion share repurchase program.
FedEx reported earnings of $1.99 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, excluding special items, topping both year-earlier results and forecasts of a $1.92 a share profit. But its guidance for fiscal first quarter earnings was below current forecasts and the upper end of its full-year earnings guidance only met the current forecast. Shares of FedEx fell 1.5% on the lower earnings guidance.
Financial services firm Jefferies reported earnings fell to 31 cents a share, excluding special items, from 36 cents a year earlier. But that was better than forecast for EPS of 28 cents, and shares of Jefferies rose 2.6% in premarket trading.
Book retailer Barnes & Noble reported a quarterly loss of $1.08 a share, up from the loss of $1.04 a share a year earlier. But the recent quarter included a 10 cent a share charge. Shares of Barnes & Noble fell 0.4% in premarket trading following the report.
Microsoft shares were up 0.5% in premarket trading. The software maker unveiled a Windows tablet computer of its own design late Monday.
World markets: European stocks were higher in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 1.1%, while the DAX in Germany rose 0.6%, and France's CAC 40 bounced back from earlier losses to be up 0.5%.
Asian markets closed slightly lower, with the Shanghai Composite losing 0.7%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipping 0.1% and Japan's Nikkei off 0.8%.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar was slightly lower against the euro, the Japanese yen as well as the British pound.
Oil for July delivery gained 20 cents to $83.47 a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery rose $4.40 to $1,631.40 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was little changed, leaving the yield near the 1.58% level reached late Monday.