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Futures Remain Flat After Case-Shiller Report

CNBC.com
Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012 | 9:03 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures remained little changed Tuesday after the Case-Shiller home price index and following a sharp rally that sent the S&P 500 to its best level in almost four years, after comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who suggested more stimulus could be on the way to boost the U.S. economy.

On the economic front, single-family home prices were unchanged in January, according to the Case-Shiller home price index. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices tumbled 0.8 percent. Economists had expected a decline of 0.2 percent, according to a Reuters poll, after December's 0.5 percent slide.

Stocks logged their best one-day rally in almost two weeks in the previous session, lifted by Bernanke's comments that the Fed may continue its easy monetary policy if the jobs market continues to show signs of weakness.

Meanwhile, Bernanke is scheduled to speak again on Tuesday, at 12:45 p.m. ET at George Washington University in the third installment of four guest lectures.

Meanwhile, James Bullard, president of St Louis Federal Reserve Bank struck a less dovish tone than Bernanke.

Bullard told CNBC that a third round of Treasury purchases was not necessary unless the domestic economy deteriorates further. Bullard said he would like to see the Fed resume a "more normal monetary policy as soon as possible" because it has detrimental effects on the economy.

New York Fed President William Dudley also testifies at 10 a.m. ET before the House Financial Service’s Subcommittee on the European sovereign crisis and the Fed’s role.

Markets' March Rally
Some investors wonder if it is too late to get into the bull run now, with Howard Ward, Gamco Growth Fund, who says the markets are due for a pullback; with CNBC's Kelly Evans.

Apple was flat after Thinkequity boosted its price target on the iPad maker to to $700 from $600. (Read More: Apple's Gains Make Some Mutual Funds More Risky) Meanwhile, CEO Tim Cook will be talking to government officials in Chinato clear up a number of problems ranging from its iPad trademark to local labor.

And BofA slipped after Baird cut its rating on the bank to "neutral," but raised its price target to $10 from $9.

Fellow Dow component Alcoa was flat after Stifel lifted its price target on the aluminum producer to $13 from $11.

Among earnings, Walgreen rose after the pharmacy chain posted earnings that fell less than expected as sales of general merchandise held up.

Lennar also rallied after the homebuilder posted its sharpest surge in orders in three quarters and added it was seeing robust signs of improvement in sales activity. This comes after rival KBHome posted an unexpected decline in orders last week, hurt by rising cancellations in the first quarter.

March consumer confidence is scheduled to be released at 10 am ET. Economists polled by Reuters expect to see a reading of 70.3.

The government is scheduled to auction $35 billion in 2-year notes at 1pm ET.

—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC

Coming Up This Week:

TUESDAY: Consumer confidence, 2-yr note auction
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, durable goods orders, oil inventories, 5-yr note auction, Fed's Bullard speaks, FDA discusses obesity drugs
THURSDAY: GDP, jobless claims, corporate profits, Fed's Plosser speaks, 7-yr note auction, farm prices, Fed's Lacker speaks; Earnings from Best Buy, Research In Motion
FRIDAY: Personal income & outlays, Chicago PMI, consumer sentiment, Stringer's last day as Sony CEO

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