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Futures Still Slightly Up After Home Price News

Stock index futures continued to trade slightly higher after news that home prices fell less than expected.

Home prices fell 3.1 percent year-over-year in January, according to the Case Shiller Home Price Index. The fall was slightly less than expected by economists surveyed by Reuters. According to Case Shiller, home prices fell in most major U.S. cities. For the month, index os 20 metropolitan areas fell 0.2 percent in January from December.

Also, March consumer confidence will be released at 10 a.m., with analysts polled by Briefing.com expecting the index to fall to 65.0 from 70.0 in February.

Stocks closed lower Mondayon low volumes as investors start to worry about how the tragedy in Japan and upheaval in the Middle East will affect company earnings. European stocks were flat in morning trade Tuesday.

President Barack Obama defended his case for military interventionin a televised address Monday evening, saying the U.S. intervened to prevent a massacre of civilians.

Obama said, however, however that the nation wouldn't get bogged down trying to topple Muammar Gaddafi. Many lawmakers have accused the President of failing to explain the U.S. role in the air assault.

Muammar Gaddafi’s forces fired heavy weapons at rebels overnight and retook a small town east of Sirte, Gaddafi’s birthplace and a military base.

Meanwhile problems with Japan’s supply chain as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami have affected global manufacturing, hitting carmakers and manufacturers.

Halliburton said after the close Monday that the conflicts in the Middle East, particularly sanctions on Libya, dented its first quarter profits by $0.03 or $0.04 per share.

In France, a survey showed a majority of citizens still support nuclear energy despite the disaster in Japan.

President Nicolas Sarkozy visits Japan later this week after Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the stricken Fukushima plant, requested help from French nuclear companies including EDF and Areva. He will be the first foreign leader to visit since the March 11 earthquake.

In company news, Amazon.com rose slightly after news the online retailer would offer a cloud-basedmusic storage service.

Wal-Mart will be in the U.S. Supreme Court today to argue that a class action suit brought by female employees should be stopped. The suit is the largest class action sex discrimination suit in history.

will be in focus after the US International Trade Commission said it would review a patent decision that ruled Apple and did not infringe Kodak's digital camera patents.

Coming Up This Week:

TUESDAY: S&P Case-Shiller home price index, consumer confidence, five-year Treasury note auction, FDIC meeting on mortgage rules; earnings from Lennar before-the-bell; Bullard speaks. WEDNESDAY: Mortgage applications, Challenger job-cut report, ADP employment report, oil inventories, seven-year Tresaury note auction, farm prices, Wal-Mart international investor conference; earnings from Family Dollar before-the-bell and Mosaic after-the-bell; Bullard and Hoenig speak.
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims, Chicago PMI, factory orders, money supply; Lacker speaks, Tarullo speaks.
FRIDAY: Auto sales, nonfarm payroll report, ISM manufacturing index, construction spending; Plosser speaks.

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