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Investors were a little more confident Tuesday, following the previous session's sell-off, with U.S. stocks headed for a higher open.
Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson both reported solid quarterly results before the opening bell.
Stocks cut some losses late Monday, but still finished the session sharply lower after Standard and Poor's cut its long-term outlook on U.S. debt to negative.
Economy: The Commerce Department announced that housing starts and building permits increased in March.
Housings starts jumped 7.2% to an annual rate of 549,000 in March while building permits climbed 11.2% to a rate of 594,000. Economists had expected a rate of 520,000 housing starts in March and 540,000 building permits.
Companies: Shares of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs (GS) rose 1.5% after the firm reported a 21% drop in net income to $2.7 billion and said it sees "encouraging indications" for global economic activity.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) reported better-than-expected earnings and sales. The healthcare company, which has been plagued by recalls and lawsuits, has also been quietly growing its business. Shares rose more than 2% premarket.
After the market close Monday, Texas Instruments (TXN) reported first-quarter earnings that missed analysts' estimates, saying the earthquake in Japan impacted consumer demand and production during the quarter. Shares of Texas Instruments fell 2.3% in premarket trading.
After the bell Tuesday, technology giants Intel (INTC) and IBM (IBM) will report their results. Analysts are looking for Intel to earn 46 cents a share, while IBM is expected to post earnings of $2.30 a share.
Yahoo (YHOO) will also reporting earnings after the bell Tuesday.
Oil for May delivery slipped 75 cents to $106.37 a barrel. Oil for June delivery, which becomes the active contract Wednesday, fell 1% to $106.68 a barrel.
Gold futures for June delivery rose $3 to $1495.90 an ounce.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 3.4% from 3.41% late Monday.
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