NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday, with investors taking a pause following a rally that has taken major indexes to repeated records, although a sharp decline in crude oil prices could weigh on energy shares.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 had inched up to intraday records in Monday’s session but ended the day with slight losses. The quiet session followed the Dow’s biggest weekly gain since January 2013 and the S&P’s biggest two-week jump since December 2011.
Energy companies will be in focus as U.S. crude futures slumped 2.3 percent to $76.87 per barrel after top oil exporter Saudi Arabia cut sales prices to the United States. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF fell 1.3 percent to $84.95 in premarket trading. Chevron Corp fell 1 percent to $115.66.
While the broader market has rallied this year, energy has lagged. The S&P energy index is down 3.3 percent in 2014, the only one of the ten primary sectors that is negative on the year. This is the fourth straight day that crude has fallen, losing 6.7 percent over that period. It is down more than 30 percent from a recent closing peak.
Also in focus is the U.S. midterm election. Investors appear less concerned with whether Republicans take control of the Senate, as expected, or Democrats hang on to their majority by a slim margin. However, volatility may spike if, come Wednesday morning, some races remain so close that the majority party in the Senate is unclear.
Alibaba Group Holding was by far the most active stock of Tuesday’s premarket session, with more than 5.2 million shares changing hands, though the stock was flat around $101.80. The Chinese e-commerce giant reported its first quarterly results as a public company, posting revenue growth of 53.7 percent.
Among other earnings, Priceline Group Inc fell 5.7 percent to $1,129.75 before the bell after reporting its results . Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc lost 6.5 percent to $369.50 after cutting the top end of its full-year sales outlook.
On the upside, Office Depot Inc climbed 13 percent to $5.75 before the bell. The office supplies retailer reported its first quarterly profit after three quarters of losses. It also raised its adjusted full-year operating income outlook.
The market’s recent rally has largely come on strong corporate financial results, which have eased concerns about the pace of economic growth. With results in from 73 percent of companies, three-quarters have beaten analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63 percent.
Futures snapshot at 8:42:
* S&P 500 e-minis were falling 4.25 points, or 0.21 percent, with 191,216 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10.75 points, or 0.26 percent, in volume of 32,407 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 25 points, or 0.14 percent, with 29,458 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)