Futures Drift After Previous Day's Rally

Futures indicated a slightly negative open for Wall Street on Tuesday as trade remained subdued after Monday's M&A-inspired rally.

Wall Street is coming off its best gains in weeks, but there's plenty of numerical traffic dead ahead in the form of earnings and economic stats.

Nonetheless, the gains for the Dow and the S&P 500 on Monday were the best one-day advances since August 21, and the Nasdaq had its best one-session gain since July 23.

In company news, genetic analysis test maker Sequenom was reeling after saying it fired its CEO and a swath of its top management team following a scandal over mishandling of research data.

The board fired president and CEO Harry Stylli and others over the affair, which centered on the company's prenatal Down symdrome test. Shares tumbled 44 percent in premarket trading.

CIT Group shares also will be in focus following a report that hedge fund manager John Paulson is considering merging the troubled finance company with failed mortgage lender IndyMac Federal Bank.

The New York Post said the merger is among plans being considered by Paulson and other CIT creditors. CIT shares jumped 26 percent premarket on the news.

In the morning's sole significant earnings report, drug store chain Walgreen reported a 2 percent drop in profit that still beat Wall Street estimates, sending shares up nearly 8 percent premarket.

European markets fell slightly, similarly stepping back after forging a strong rally Monday.

Investors are largely focused on Friday morning's September employment report, but there's plenty to keep them occupied in the interim.

At 9 am New York time, we'll get the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, expected to show that home prices in 20 major cities fell 14 percent in July from year-earlier levels.

At 10 am New York time, the Conference Board is out with its monthly Consumer Confidence Index.

Two Fed speeches are also on the calendar today: Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher gives a speech on the economy at about 10 am New York time in Dallas, while Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser does the same at a 7 pm appearance in Easton, PA.

With the third quarter ending on Wednesday, earnings season is just around the corner, but there are a few reports of inte otherrest on the docket today: Nike , Darden Restaurants , Jabil Circuit , and Micron will all report after the closing bell.

The quarter, by the way, has some notable stock stats attached to it with two sessions to go: the Dow is on track for a record quarterly point gain, and the best percentage gain since the fourth quarter of 1998. The S&P 500 is also on track for its best percentage gain since Q4 1998.

Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk