U.S. stock index futures erased their early gains to nudge into negative territory Tuesday following a handful of disappointing economic reports.
Futures were earlier buoyed ahead of this week’s liquidity injection by the European Central Bank, which market participants hope will alleviate tensions in the European banking sector.
On the economic front, durable goods orders slumped 4 percent in January, logging its biggest slide in almost three years, according to the Commerce Department, due to a large decline in business spending on machinery and equipment. Meanwhile, core capital goods tumbled 4.5 percent, the biggest drop in a year.
Adding to woes, home prices fell for the fourth-consecutive monthin December, with 18 of the 20 cities tracked posting a decline. The S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index slid 3.8 percent, ending 2011 at the lowest levels since mid-2006.
February's consumer confidence data will be released at 10:00 a.m. Analyst polled by Briefing.com forecast the index will rise from 61.1 in January to 62.5.
European stocks roseahead of the planned liquidity injection.
Meanwhile, ratings agency Standard & Poor's cut Greece's sovereign credit rating after-the-bell Monday to"selective default,"but the move was widely expected. S&P also said that once the debt exchange is concluded, it will likely raise Greece's sovereign credit rating to the 'CCC' category.
Among earnings, Office Depot gained after the office supply chain posted better-than-expected earnings thanks to lower expenses and fewer discounts during the holiday season. Rival Staples is slated to post results Wednesday.