Futures Flat; Focus on Housing Trends

U.S. stock index were flat Tuesday following a positive close on Wall Street Monday as investors looked toward key housing data to gauge the strength of the sector.

Stocks closed higher Monday despite initial negative effects of the health care reform legislation, approved by the House of Representatives Sunday evening.

The Dow closed at its highest level since October 1, 2008, while the Nasdaq posted its highest close since August 28, 2008. The President gets set to sign the legislation at 11:15 am New York time Tuesday.

In some early deal news, aircraft components maker Triumph Group has agreed to acquire Vought Aircraft Industries from Caryle Group in a deal worth $1.44 billion that includes 7.5 million shares and $525 million in cash. Triumph's shares gained about 1.2 percent in premarket trading.

Asian stocks ended mostly higher as resource companies gained on firm commodity prices. European stocks were also in the green with insurance companies performing well.

Tuesday's economic numbers focus on housing, with the National Association of Realtors set to issue existing home sales figures for February at 10 am. Economists expect that number to drop 2 percent from January levels to an annual sales rate of 4.95 million units. At the same time, the Federal Housing Finance Agency will put out its monthly reading on home prices.

The Treasury is set to auction $44 billion 2-year notes Tuesday, with results available shortly after 1 pm. That will be followed by a sale of $42 billion in 5-year notes Wednesday and $32 billion in 7-year notes on Thursday.

Federal Reserve speakers are prominent on the day's agenda. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans told a Shanghai audience that Fed policy will remain accommodative for at least several months more. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser and San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen are also scheduled to speak.

Earnings reports scheduled to come out include cruise-line operator Carnival, drugstore-chain Walgreen, and homebuilder KB Home. Walgreen beat analyst estimates, sending shares more than 1 percent higher in premarket trading.


Investors will keep an eye on Google, following its move to redirect Chinese Web site traffic to its Hong Kong site, thereby sidestepping its censorship dispute with China.

Toyota has raised its global production plans for this year by one percent to 7.57 million vehicles, according to Reuters. Its well-publicized troubles aside, Toyota has been helped by subsidy-led demand for fuel efficient cars in Japan.

- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.