Stock index futures added to gains Tuesday after a report that home prices up slightly in July from June, and despite the return of European debt concerns.
Home prices in the U.S. rose in July from June, although the growth slowed. The Case-Shiller composite index of 10 major metropolitan areas rose 0.8 percent from June, while the 20-city index rose 0.6 percent. Seasonally-adjusted, the 10-city index was flat, while the 20-area index slipped 0.1 percent.
"While we could still see some residual support from the homebuyers’ tax credit, which covers purchases closing through September 30th, anyone looking for home price to return to the lofty 2005-2006 might be disappointed," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. "Judging from the recent behavior of the housing market, stable prices seem more likely."
The major indexes fell about a half percentin the previous session, taking some of the steam out of a September rally.
Ireland may see its credit rating cut again because of the escalating cost of recapitalizing Anglo Irish Bank, according to the rating agency Standard & Poor's Corp. Moody's had downgraded the bank by three notches the day before.
Borrowing costs for Ireland and other periphery euro-zone countries spiked after the news, sending European stocks lower. Asian stocks ended lower on the back of Wall Street's weak close.
On the economic front, the monthly S&P/Case-Shiller reading on home prices will be released at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., the Conference Board releases its monthly consumer confidence index. Economists expect the index to slip to of 53.0 for September, according to Briefing.com, compared to August's reading of 53.5. The latest Richmond Federal Reserve survey is also out at 10 a.m.
The results of the Treasury's $35 billion 5-year note auction will be released at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve officials may be weighing new plans to boost the economy by embarking on more small-scale bond buying programs, the Wall Street Journal reported. Last year the Fed carried out large bond purchases to add liquidity to the marekts.
Walgreen's shares soared more than 7 percent in pre-market trading after the drug-store retailer posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 7.8 percent, thanks to strong pharmacy sales. The company also reported better same-store sales.
In corporate news, JPMorgan Chase may try to recoup the funds it used to buy Washington Mutual assets, according to a report from Associated Press. The bank notified federal regulators of its plans, according to people familiar with the situation, the report said.
In the technology sector, Research In Motion unveiled its answer to Apple's iPad, the BlackBerry PlayBook. And Oracle sued Micron for alleged price fixing of microchips.
Meanwhile, Pfizer pulled the plug on a late-stage study of its advanced prostate cancer drug Sutent.
On Tap For This Week:
TUESDAY: S&P/Case-Shiller home price index; Richmond Fed survey; consumer confidence index; 5-year note auction; Atlanta Fed Pres Lockhart speaks; Barnes & Noble shareholder meeting; HP analyst meeting
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications; oil inventories; Minneapolis Fed Pres Kockerlakota speaks; Philadelphia Fed Pres Plosser speaks; Boston Fed Pres Rosengren speaks; 7-year note auction
THURSDAY: Reading on GDP; Weekly jobless claims; Corporate profits; Chicago PMI; Hearing on J&J recalls
FRIDAY: Personal spending; NY Fed Pres Dudley speaks; Consumer sentiment; ISM manufacturing index; Construction spending; Monthly auto sales; BP's Hayward steps down
More From CNBC.com: