Stocks poised for a weaker start after Monday's rally

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It was to be expected that a day after Wall Street's big rally -- biggest since November -- U.S. stock futures would be lower, pointing to sluggish start for stocks Tuesday morning. If on Monday investors welcomed the administration's plan to buy toxic assets from struggling banks, today they would tune into testimony about AIG.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are testifying later today before the House Financial Services Committee on the bonuses paid to American International Group (AIG), but after discussing that, they may also be grilled on the new risks to taxpayers from the latest plan unveiled Monday to take over up to $1 trillion in dodgy mortgage securities with the help of private investors.
Overseas, Asian stock markets extended their rally Tuesday after Wall Street's surge Monday, while European markets were mixed in early trade. Financial firms jumped and Japanese exporters rose on the sliding yen. Still, Japanese automakers reported on Tuesday sharp declines in domestic sales, hitting a 39-year low, and in exports for the month of February, along with similar drops in global production. In the U.K., consumer prices jumped more than expected in February, fueled by rising prices for food and drink, recreation and transport.

Meanwhile, oil prices eased Tuesday but stayed above $53 a barrel.

There are no other major economic indicators due out today, nor major events. Later this evening, however, at 8:00 p.m. ET, there is news conference on the economic recovery plan with President Obama.
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