NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks poised for higher open Tuesday, but investors remain cautious as they await developments in Europe.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were higher ahead of the opening bell. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
U.S. stocks closed sharply lower Monday, as bank shares took a beating amid fresh concerns about the debt crisis in Europe.
Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) fell below $5 per share on Monday, its lowest level since the worst of the financial crisis in March 2009. Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), JPMorgan (JPM, Fortune 500), Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) also fell sharply.
The sell off was driven by speculation that BofA and other big U.S. banks will need to raise more capital, said David Rovelli, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Canaccord Adams.
U.S. banks have been hit by concerns about their exposure to bonds issued by fragile governments in the eurozone. In addition, traders pointed to reports that tougher regulations on banks could come to pass sooner than expected.
Also on Monday, the European Central Bank warned that "contagion effects" have intensified, as borrowing costs have risen for larger euro-area governments -- a sign of the continuing difficulties facing the region.
0:00 / 1:48 Forget Europe. Watch Asia
World markets: European stocks were mixed in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) shed 0.2%, while the DAX (DAX) in Germany added 0.8% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) rose 0.9%.
Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) lost 0.1%, while the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong ticked up 0.1% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) edged higher 0.5%.
Economy: The Census Bureau will release data on housing starts and building permits issued in the month of November Tuesday morning.
Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com expect housing starts hit 627,000, and building permits to stand at 633,000 for November -- up from 628,000 and 653,000 respectively in the month prior.
Companies: Firms including food producers General Mills (GIS, Fortune 500) and ConAgra (CAG, Fortune 500), and investment banking firm Jefferies Group (JEF), will report their quarterly results before the opening bell on Tuesday.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect General Mills to report earnings per share of 79 cents, up from 76 cents a year ago; while ConAgra is expected to post earnings of 43 cents a share, down from 45 cents last year.
Jefferies expected to post earnings of 14 cents a share, down from 35 cents a year ago.
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Late Monday, AT&T (T, Fortune 500) announced that it had abandoned its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile, a deal that would have created by far the nation's largest wireless company.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.
Oil for January delivery rose 36 cents to $95.16 a barrel.
Gold futures for February delivery fell $8.90 to $1,605.60 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was little changed, with the yield holding steady at 1.81% from late Monday.