US STOCKS-Futures point to slight losses at the open

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 06, 2013 12:50 hrs

* Investors looking for catalysts to spur more gains

* Equities coming off lightest full trading day of 2013

* American Eagle plunges after outlook, IBM downgraded

* Cognizant Tech and Fossil Group rise after results

* Futures down: Dow 4 pts, S&P 500 2.8 pts, Nasdaq 2 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Aug 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a modestly lower open on Tuesday as investors sought new catalysts to extend a recent rally that has taken indexes to record highs in recent sessions.

Trading volume has been muted, with Monday marking the lightest full-day action of the year, a sign that market participants are largely holding pat near historic levels.

Recent market-moving events have moved to the background. The intense investor focus on Federal Reserve policy has receded after last week's bearish payroll report suggested the Fed would not ease its monetary stimulus soon.

In addition, the corporate earnings season is winding down. While about 100 S&P 500 components are still scheduled to release results, most of the bellwether companies have already reported.

"We're in a post-earnings season environment, and it would take a pretty major catalyst to move us significantly higher from here," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

"Still, that we've been drifting higher without any major pullback augurs that there's really support for the levels we're at now. The only thing that could really take us lower would have to be something unexpected."

S&P 500 futures fell 2.8 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 30 points and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 2 points.

The S&P 500 has risen for five of the past six weeks, gaining more than 7 percent over that period. The index closed at an all-time high on Friday, as did the Dow. The S&P's 50-day moving average, currently at 1,692.77, could serve as a support level in any market decline.

American Eagle Outfitters plunged 15 percent to $16.95 in premarket trading, a day after the retailer said its second-quarter profit would be hurt by weak sales and margins. A number of analysts downgraded the stock.

Cognizant Tech rose 4.9 percent to $77 in premarket trading after reporting a 20 percent rise in second-quarter revenue, while Fossil Group Inc rose 9.2 percent to $117.31 after its results.

Archer Daniels Midland reported a drop in profits as U.S. crop supplies tightened, the sending shares 1.4 percent lower to $37.33 in premarket trading.

Of the 391 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings for the second quarter through Monday, 67.8 percent have topped analysts' expectations, in line with the average beat over the past four quarters, data from Thomson Reuters showed. About 55 percent have reported revenue above estimates, more than in the past four quarters but below the historical average.

Shares of the Washington Post Co will be in focus after Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos agreed to buy the publishing company's newspaper assets for $250 million.

Credit Suisse downgraded International Business Machines Corp to "underperform," from "neutral," saying organic growth would be challenging in the future. The firm cut its price target on the Dow component by $25 to $175.

Shares of IBM fell 1.4 percent to $192.80.

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in June to its lowest level in more than 3-1/2 years as imports reversed the prior month's spike, suggesting an upward revision to second-quarter growth. The gap narrowed to $34.2 billion, compared with expectations of $43.5 billion.

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