S&P Futures Today Retreat on Regional Fed President Discussions

s&p futures todayS&P futures today (Tuesday) forecasted a 9-point drop from yesterday's S&P close. Similarly, Dow Jones futures slid 80-points after soaring 263 points by the Dow close yesterday. This came on the back of several key deals in the healthcare sector and big gains for energy stocks.

S&P futures today are moving in anticipation of January's Case-Shiller housing index will be released as the U.S. housing market attempts to rebound from year-over-year lows in November. In addition, chatter about a potential hike to interest rates in June is heating up. In a speech this morning to the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Jeffrey Lacker, the president of the Richmond Fed, announced that he anticipates strong growth and higher inflation in 2015. These factors are why he would urge the Federal Reserve to boost interest rates as soon as June. Today features three presentations from Federal Reserve presidents.

On the global front, Eurozone consumer inflation will headline a slew of critical data, while German announces its March unemployment level and the U.K. reports a revision of its GDP.

Here are some of today's pre-market movers, as well as what else you should know about the stock market today - including your "Money Morning Tip of the Day..."

  • Activist Attack: Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman isn't giving up on his crusade against nutritional company Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF). The head of Pershing Square Capital Management said that shutting down Herbalife is "one of the most important things" he can do. Ackman began what became a $1 billion short position against the company in December 2012, and he alleges that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme.
  • Oil Prices Today: Talk of a potential nuclear deal between the United States and Iran has oil prices on the decline. Brent oil, priced in London, fell 2.4% to $54.90 per barrel. WTI crude, priced in New York City, slipped nearly 2.3% to hover just above $47.56 per barrel. Any deal between the two nations would end economic sanctions on Iran, and would allow thn country's oil exports back onto the market. Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration said in a report that U.S. oil production hit an all-time high in 2014. According to the report, U.S. crude production averaged 8.7 million barrels a day. That's an increase of 1.2 million barrels per day.
  • Merger Mania: Commercial real estate investment company CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBG) announced it will purchase Global Workplace Solutions, a real estate services business of Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI), for roughly $1.5 billion. JCI shares were up more than 1.2% in pre-market hours. Meanwhile, Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: ENH) said it will purchase reinsurance firm Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: MRH) for $1.83 billion in cash and stock. Montpelier shares were up nearly 4% this morning.[epom key="ddec3ef33420ef7c9964a4695c349764" redirect="" sourceid="" imported="false"]
  • Cable Launch: Cable giant Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) announced that it will be investing roughly $4 billion to launch a new company that will focus on "investing and operating growth-oriented companies" in the United States and abroad. The new firm will be led by its current CFO Michael Angelakis, which means that Comcast will begin a search for a new financial leader immediately. Share of Comcast were up 1.2% in pre-market hours.
  • Drink Up: Coffee giant Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) has dropped its social experiments and is moving back to product innovation. The company will debut a new line of smoothies at some of its domestic locations. The launch is part of a partnership with French yogurt-maker Danone SA (OTCMKTS ADR: DANOY).
  • Earnings Reports: Investors can expect earnings reports today from Paragon Shipping Inc. (Nasdaq: PRGN), Movado Group Inc. (NYSE: MOV), Freshpet Inc. (Nasdaq: FRPT), Frisch's Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: FRS), and Conn's Inc. (Nasdaq: CONN).

Full U.S. Economic Calendar March 31, 2015

  • Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George will deliver a speech in New York at 8 a.m.
  • Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
  • Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester moderates panel on the future of banks at the Atlanta Fed conference at 9 a.m.
  • Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker speaks at 9 a.m
  • S&P Case-Shiller HPI at 9 a.m.
  • Chicago PMI at 9:45 a.m.
  • Consumer Confidence at 10 a.m.
  • State Street Investor Confidence Index at 10 a.m.
  • 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • 52-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
Money Morning Tip of the Day: Not every special situation or "turnaround" play will be profitable. But these three catalysts all point to a company's successful turnaround.Today's tip comes from Money Morning Tech Expert Michael A. Robinson:Investing in companies that are in the midst of a turnaround can be risky. You have to be willing to put your hard-earned money into companies with steep losses. And not all can succeed and produce big gains for investors.

Here are three tell-tale catalysts that can help you find these big-profit stocks.

No. 1. A Solid Recovery Starts at the Top. I like to see fresh blood at the top for a simple reason: When companies get into trouble, it often follows from a series of bad decisions by senior management. So, if the company needs to go in a new direction, that requires execs who will bring in new ideas and approaches with them. If a board of directors isn't willing to change leaders, it isn't serious about righting a sinking ship.

No. 2. The Company Must Find New Growth. To convince key customers, lenders, and investors that it has embarked on a new direction, a once-troubled firm has to offer more than just lip service. It must have something new to deliver. This can include new products, markets, or ways of doing business.

No. 3. The Company Must Improve Its Financials. In all the years that I've analyzed turnaround firms and their stocks, I've yet to see one that didn't need at least some improvement in its balance sheet. Of course, we like to see lots of new sales. But if the firm can't improve its cost structure, sooner or later it's going to end up in financial trouble.

Robinson shared a company that meets all three of these criteria, and its stock could soar 50% in less than three years. Get it here: How to Find Tech Stocks Ready for a Turnaround

About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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