U.S. stock index futures slipped Tuesday as investors digested a handful of mixed earnings reports and as the dollar made gains against the euro and yen.
On the economic front, prices of U.S. single-family homes fell in August, hovering around recent lows after the expiration of popular homebuyer tax credits, according a Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price report.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.3 percent in August from July on a seasonally adjusted basis, as expected in a Reuters poll. The dip followed a 0.6 percent July gain.
S&P, which publishes the indexes, also said home prices in the 20 cities index rose 1.7 percent from August 2009, a slower annual pace than the 3.2 percent increase in July.
Investors will get another take on the state of the housing sector at 10 am from the Federal Housing Finance Agency's house price index.
And in a busy day for corporate earnings, Ford shares slipped in pre-market trading even after the automobile firm posted its sixth straight quarterly profitand the company's best third-quarter performance since at least 1990. The company said its third-quarter net income rose 68 percent.
DuPont rose slightly after the maker of chemicals, building materials and agricultural products posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profitas sales rose in all six business units and across the globe. The Dow component also increased its 2010 earnings forecast above Wall Street's expectations.
U.S. Steel declined in premarket trading as the firm posted a loss and warned the fourth-quarter could be similar because of the uncertain economy in North America and Europe.
Bristol-Myers Squibb posted a slight profit declineas its restrained spending was offset by flat sales of its drugs, lower income from its partners and bigger discounts to government due to the health care overhaul.
And reported an unexpected investment banking loss, sending its U.S.-listed shares down more than 4 percent in pre-market trading.
And Texas Instruments slipped after the chipmaker said Monday that it expects fourth-quarter revenue to decline from third-quarter levels.
Broadcom , Dreamworks and Massey Energy among a handful of others are expected to report earnings this afternoon.
The dollar made back some of its recent loses against a basket of currencies and recovered from record lows against the yen . Japanese officials signaled their willingness to step into the market to curb the yen's strength. Asian markets ended mixed after a range-bound session.
Comments from New York Fed President William Dudley also helped to boost the greenback. Dudley said that the decision on whether to implement a large wave of quantitative easing or incremental moves would be down to the economic context.
Dudley is due to speak further at 4:30 pm ET on the state of the regional economy at Rochester, New York.
European shares were lower across the board. The UK economy grew twice as fast as expected in the third quarter, according to official data. The result dimmed expectations for another round of quantitative easing in the near term and boosted the pound against the dollar .
Sony shares jumped in pre-market trading as traders cited media reports speculating that the Japanese electronics maker could be a potential acquisition targetof Apple . The rumor follows a recent report from a Barron's article that said cash-rich Apple could be contemlating a big acquisition and noted speculation about Adobe , Sony and Disney as potential targets.
On the economic front, October consumer confidence data is out at 10 a.m. ET with consensus estimates calling for a reading of 49, which would be slightly higher that the previous month's sharp decline.
Coming Up This Week:
TUESDAY: Consumer confidence, two-year Treasury note auction; Earnings from Broadcom, Dreamworks and Massey Energy after-the-bell.
WEDNESDAY: MBA mortgage applications, durable goods, new home sales, oil inventories, five-year Treasury note auction; before-the-bell earnings from Comcast, P&G, SAP, ConocoPhillips, Deutsche Bank, Dr. Pepper Snapple, General Dynamics, Owens Corning; after-the-bell earnings from Allstate, Owens Illinois.
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, natural gas inventories, 7-year Treasury note auction; before-the-bell earnings from Shell, AutoNation, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Duke Energy, Motorola, Potash, Starwood Hotels, and Thomson Reuters; after-the-bell earnings from Microsoft and MetLife.
FRIDAY: GDP, employment cost index, Chicago PMI, consumer sentiment, farm prices; before-the-bell earnings from Chevron, Merck, Cigna, Constellation Energy and Estee Lauder.
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