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Futures Drift, End of Quarter in Focus

Stock futures were flat to slightly lower Tuesday as the market braced for an onslaught of economic data heading into the holiday weekend.

Though Wall Street's rally has shown signs of stalling recently, investors have pushed the major averages to some impressive numbers as the month and the quarter come to an end.

The S&P 500 is up 16.2 percent for the second quarter, its best quarterly percentage gain since the final quarter of 1998. The Nasdaq (up 20.6 percent) has had its best quarter since the second quarter of 2003, while the Dow (up 12.1 percent) will chalk up its best quarter since the final quarter of 2003.

A positive day today would give the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq gains for the month of June, marking the fourth-straight month of gains for each. The Dow, however, is still down for the year while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have yearly gains.

As for this morning, there's no clear indication of the market's direction either from stock index futures or the European markets. Only one report is on the economic calendar this morning, as the Conference Board issues its monthly consumer confidence index at 10 am New York time.

Investors may focus on Fed speeches Tuesday, though only one will occur during market hours. At noon, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard will talk about possible Fed exit strategies from the extraordinary measures implemented to deal with the financial crisis.

Chicago Fed President Thomas Hoenig speaks at New York University shortly after 4 pm, while San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen speaks to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco this evening.

In deal news, Emulex shares slid 2 percent after the chipmaker's board of directors asked shareholders to wait before making moves on an offer from Broadcom to buy the company for $11 a share.

Broadcom on Monday sweetened its offer to buy Emulex from an initial $764 million to $912 million, a 66 percent premium from Emulex's closing price on April 20, the day before Broadcom announced its bid.

Elsewhere, Encore Energy Partners said Monday it was pricing its offering of 8.2 million common shares at $14.30 per share, in line with the day's closing price. Shares fell 1.2 percent in premarket trading.

And Apollo Group continued to get a boost from posting quarterly earnings Monday that were better than expected. The private education provider beat expectations as it saw earnings soar 44 percent in its third quarter, sending shares more than 6 percent higher premarket.

Among other stocks that may move: Abbott Labs, which was ordered to pay Johnson & Johnson $1.67 billion dollars in a patent case.

A day after the Bernard Madoff sentencing, a ruling may come this afternoon on whether Allen Stanford's bail will be revoked following an alleged Ponzi scheme. Earlier, Britain's Serious Fraud Office has frozen $100 million in assets linked to Stanford.

General Motors is also back in court today as it attempts to garner final approval for its bankruptcy plan.

Also in autos, Ford shares gained 2.4 percent premarket a day after the company said that June auto sales would show that the company is increasing market share. The company said it would increase production in the third quarter to meet the expected higher demand.

- Peter Schacknow, senior Producer at CNBC.com, contributed to this report.

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ABT
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APOL
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BRCM
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ELUX.B
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F
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GM
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JNJ
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