U.S. stock index futures were narrowly mixed Tuesday, after rallying nearly 2 percent in the previous session, following a credit downgrade of France by ratings agency Moody's, a better-than-expected housing starts report, and a surprising writedown from Hewlett-Packard.
Stocks logged their biggest rally in two months in the previous session, boosted by optimism for a "fiscal cliff" deal, a series of tax and spending changes next year that could push the economy into recession.
On the economic front, housing starts gained 3.6 percent to a seasonally-adjusted 894,000, hitting its highest rate in more than four years, according to the Commerce Department. Meanwhile, permits slipped 2.7 percent.
Among earnings, H-P reported earnings that beat expectations, but only after excluding a huge accounting charge relating to allegations of fraud tied to the acquisition of its Autonomy software unit. Shares plunged sharply in pre-market trading to their lowest level since October 2002.
Campbell Soup declined after the canned soup maker posted lower quarterly earnings, hurt by charges related to its recent acquisition of Bolthouse Farms, but it reaffirmed its full-year forecast.