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U.S. stocks were set to open higher Wednesday, following a sharp sell-off in the previous session and ahead of a key report on existing home sales.
Libya's escalating political crisis sparked a sharp sell-off in U.S. stocks Tuesday, with the three major indexes posting their biggest one-day drops of the year and as oil prices continued to skyrocket.
Economy: The spotlight returns to real estate Wednesday morning, as the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales numbers for January at 15:00 GMT.
Existing home sales are expected to slip slightly, to 5.23 million units on an annualized basis.
On Tuesday, the latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index report indicated that national home prices fell 4.1% during the last three months of 2010, compared with 12 months earlier.
Companies: Before the opening bell, Home Depot (HD) rival Lowe's (LOW) reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations. Shares were up 3% in premarket trading.
Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers (TOL) also surprised investors, reporting quarterly earnings of 2 cents per share. Analysts had forecasted a loss of 7 cents per share. Shares were up 3% in premarket trading.
Still to come, retail department store Saks (SKS) is scheduled to report quarterly results later in the morning.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) were down 10% in premarket trading, after the computer company issued an outlook and quarterly sales figures that disappointed investors.
Oil for April delivery gained 55 cents to $95.97 a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery rose $3.40 to $1,404.50 an ounce.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dipped slightly, with the yield pushing up to 3.48% from Tuesday yield of 3.46%.
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