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US stock futures waver amid housing-market reports

U.S. stock-index futures wobbled as investors digested data that had building permits rising to a five-year high in October and home prices up 13.3 percent in September from a year ago.

"Permits typically herald home construction ahead and if the latest reading holds true, construction companies appear confident in how 2014 will turn out," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak, wrote of the government report, which had building permits rising 6.2 percent in October to 1.034 million versus a 925,000 estimate, and 5.2 percent to 974,000 in September.

Shares of Jos. A. Bank Clotheries jumped in early New York trading after Men's Wearhouse offered to buy its rival for $55 a share, or about $1.2 billion, Men's Warehouse said in a statement.

In earnings news, Tiffany easily beat estimates, with the luxury retailer posting profit of 73 cents a share that sent the stock up 6.2 percent in premarket trading.

The Conference Board publishes its consumer confidence survey for November at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Paul Diggle, an economist at independent research firm Capital Economics, said consumer confidence was probably boosted this month by s strengthening labor market, record-high stock prices and lower gasoline prices.

"The economic recovery appears to be firming since the government reopened. Weekly jobless claims drifted lower in November. Gasoline prices have stayed around the recent low of $3.30 a gallon. In addition, equity prices have risen to record highs. One concern, however, is the recent rise in mortgage rates," he said in a research note on Monday afternoon.

Tuesday will likely see reduced trading volume, particularly in the afternoon, ahead of the market closure on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

Other stock worth watching is mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, into which Chinese regulators have launched an antitrust investigation.

Technology stocks may also be worth an eye, after the Financial Times reported that European officials plan to warn Washington that tech companies risk losing their exemption from privacy rules unless the U.S. changes the way it treats European citizens' online data.

(Read more: EU accuses US of improperly trawling citizens' online data)

In the bond markets, the Treasury is due to sell $35 billion of five-year notes, while the Fed is scheduled to purchase $1.25-$1.75 billion of 23-30-year Treasury notes.

Shares in Asia and Europe held steady in early trade on Tuesday, after rallying on Monday following the signing of an historic deal between Iran and Western powers to curtail its nuclear armament program.

(Read more: Geopolitical risk: Iran is out, China and Japan are in)

—By CNBCs Katy Barnato

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