(RTTNews) - After showing a lack of direction over the course of the previous session, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by just 5 points.
With the markets scheduled for an early close, trading activity is likely to remain subdued as some traders look to get a head start on the Independence Day holiday on Wednesday.
A relatively light day on the economic front may also keep traders on the sidelines, although the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its monthly report on factory orders at 10 am ET.
Economists expect orders for manufactured goods to edge up by 0.1 percent in May following a 0.6 percent decrease in April.
While a preliminary report showed that durable goods orders jumped by 1.1 percent in May, the increase in expected to be partly offset by a drop in orders for non-durable goods.
The report is not likely to attract much attention, however, with traders looking ahead to the monthly jobs report as well as monetary policy announcements from Europe.
Among individual stocks, shares of Microsoft (MSFT) may be in focus after the software giant announced that it will take a $6.2 billion charge for the impairment of goodwill in its Online Services Division segment, mostly related to its 2007 acquisition of aQuantive.
Barclays (BCS) could also attract attention after announcing resignation of its CEO Robert Diamond over the LIBOR rate fixing scandal.
As mentioned above, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Monday. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the session mixed.
While the major averages all moved to the upside going into the close, the Dow remained stuck in the red. The Dow edged down 8.70 points or 0.1 percent to 12,871.39, while the Nasdaq rose 16.18 points or 0.6 percent to 2,951.23 and the S&P 500 crept up 3.35 points or 0.3 percent to 1,365.51.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Tuesday, benefiting from optimism about the possibility of further stimulus. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.5 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has risen by 0.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 0.3 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.94 to $85.69 a barrel after falling $1.21 to $83.75 a barrel on Monday. Gold futures are climbing $16.60 to $1,614.30 an ounce. In the previous session, the precious metal slid $6.50 to $1,597.70 an ounce.
Among currencies, the U.S. dollar is trading at 79.80 yen compared to the 79.52 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2562 compared to yesterday's $1.2576.