The suspense is killing investors. On Tuesday, all eyes will be on Tim Geithner, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, who will unveil his plan for how to stabilize the U.S. financial system with the remaining $350-billion (U.S.) bailout package approved last year.
President Barack Obama refused to give hints on what that plan might entail, saying at his inaugural press conference on Monday: "I don't want to pre-empt my secretary of the Treasury; he's going to be laying out these principles in great detail tomorrow. But my instruction to him has been let's get this right, let's create a template in which we're restoring market confidence."
In the meantime, global stock market indexes maintained a holding pattern that began on Monday, dipping only slightly ahead of any news.
Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were down 27 points, to 8,191. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were down 4 points, to 861. Financial stocks were up in premarket activity, with Bank of America Corp. shares rising 22 cents, to $7.11, and Citigroup Inc. shares up 18 cents, to $4.13.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.8 per cent and Germany's DAX index was down 0.9 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 per cent in overnight trading.
One thing is clear though: Mr. Obama's stimulus plan took one more step towards reality yesterday, after the U.S. senate voted in favour of the plan. The next step is to reconcile the senate's version of the plan with the version passed earlier by the House. Some observers believe that a final version could be handed to the President by Monday.
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