U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street Tuesday after an encouraging report on the home prices.
This came after major averagese finished little changed on Monday, snapping a four-day rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to eke out a three-point gain for its fifth straight winning session, but the Nasdaq index and S&P 500 index finished the day barely lower.
Home prices rose 1.4 percentin June from May, the second straight monthly increase. However, prices were still down 15 percent from a year earlier.
Still to come: the Conference Board releases its August consumer confidence index at 10 am ET.
In other news this morning, President Obama officially reappointed Ben Bernankefor another term as Federal Reserve chairman. There had been speculation that White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers might be tapped for the job, but Obama opted to reappoint Bernanke.
Bernanke's next challenge will be presiding over the recovery, economists said.
“The next phase is almost as difficultas the first one he presided over in saving the economy from a deeper recession or worse,” FAO chief economist Robert Brusca said.
There are only a handful of events on the calendar, and trading volume is likely to be light once again.
The Treasury will auction $42 billion in 2-year notes today, with the results expected shortly after 1 pm New York time. That's the first of three note auctions this week that will total $109 billion.
The final remnants of earnings season continued to trickle in.
Clear-out retailer Big Lots beat Wall Street expectations with what has become familiar theme for the second quarter: Sales fell but cost-cutting helped the bottom line numbers. Shares gained about 2 percent in premarket trading on the company's 35 cents per share earnings, better than Wall Street estimates of 30 cents.
The news wasn't as good for office retailer Staples . The company reported a 38 percent drop in quarterly profits as both costs and sales rose. Though the profit of 16 cents per share was in line with projections, shares dropped 1.3 percent premarket.
The White House will release its updated deficit projections at 9:30 am New York time, but the news is unlikely to move markets, since the numbers have already been widely reported. Deficit estimates for fiscal 2009 have been trimmed by $262 billion, but the U.S. will run a $9 trillion deficit over the next 10 years, $2 trillion more than previously estimated.
"Cash for clunkers" will remain in the news: the deadline for qualifying sales passed last night at 8 pm New York time, but dealers have been given an extension until midday today to file the necessary paperwork.
- Automakers Face Letdown as 'Cash-for-Clunkers' Ends
The news will pick up as the week goes on. On tap are more than $100 billion in Treasury auctions, a report on bailout executive pay, durable-goods orders, new-home sales, the second reading on second-quarter GDP, personal income and spending, consumer confidence and spending, and earnings from Dell and Tiffany.
— Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.