* Futures down: Dow 68 pts, S&P 8 pts, Nasdaq 18 pts
By Aastha Agnihotri
Feb 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Tuesday, as cautious investors doubled down on safer assets amid increasing concerns of a sustained slowdown in global economic growth.
* Gold prices steadied near seven-month highs, while yields on Japan’s 10-year government bond slipped into negative territory for the first time ever on Tuesday.
* Global markets were lower, led by a fall in European bank stocks. Chinese markets are closed through the week for the Lunar New Year.
* “There is a high probability of a further correction in equity prices, led by banking and energy stocks,” said Lorne Baring, managing director of B Capital Wealth Management, adding that looming defaults in the energy sector would hurt banks.
* Wall Street fell on Monday, after a late rally in energy stocks failed to stem the selloff in the financial sector.
* “Investors should be concerned that the behavior was similar to January’s when macro trends dominated and late day short squeezes prevented the type of liquidation selling necessary for a sustainable low,” said Michael O‘Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.
* U.S. stock indexes have failed to sustain several attempts at rallies this year.
* Crude oil prices, which have been a strong influence on stocks this year, were up on Tuesday.
* Key to market sentiment will be U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semi-annual testimony before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.
* Expectations are rife that the Fed, which raised interest rates in December, will slow the pace of further hikes or suspend the program to normalize rates until further signs of global economic stability.
* Meanwhile, investors will parse corporate earnings reports for signs of impact from a stronger dollar and tepid global demand. Profits at S&P 500 companies on average are seen to fall 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
* Dow component Coca-Cola was off 0.68 percent at $42.36 permarket after reporting a fall in quarterly sales.
* Regeneron Pharma fell 4.5 percent to $373 after it forecast slowing sales growth for its blockbuster eye drug.
* President Barack Obama is scheduled to present his final budget as U.S. leader later in the day. Disney is slated to report results after the bell.
Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were down 68 points, or 0.43 percent, with 52,754 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 8 points, or 0.43 percent, with 295,150 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 18 points, or 0.45 percent, on volume of 51,313 contracts. (Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri and Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)