Bernanke news lifts futures; consumer data eyed

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures were higher on Tuesday on news that Ben Bernanke will be renominated as chairman of the Federal Reserve and ahead of key consumer confidence and housing data.

U.S. President Barack Obama will renominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Fed on Tuesday, a senior administration official said.

Bernanke's renomination is boosting the market as many of his decisions during the global meltdown were viewed as wise and were well received by investors, according to Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.

Cardillo said any good news out of the housing market will help investor mood, but the most important (data) is consumer confidence. If we see a slightly better number and improvement in the mood of the consumer, I think the market probably will extend the rally, he said.

S&P 500 futures rose 3.2 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 31 points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 2 points.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. home price index for June is due at 9 a.m. EDT, and the FHFA House Price Index for June and consumer confidence for August are both due at 10 a.m. EDT.

In company news, Cisco Systems Inc said it won a deal to supply edge routers to Telstra Corp , Australia's biggest phone company.

Citigroup Inc's top mortgage executive said the company has substantially boosted offers to modify mortgages this month after the U.S. government asked banks to speed the process and help prevent foreclosures.

Lowe's Cos Inc , the No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain, is making its first foray outside North America through a joint venture with Woolworths Ltd , Australia's largest retailer.

The White House and U.S. Congress will issue separate budget estimates Tuesday that are expected to show the government will spend a record $1.6 trillion more than it collects this year and nearly double its outstanding debt over the next 10 years.

U.S. stocks were flat on Monday after four sessions of gains that took the S&P 500 <.SPX> to a 10-month high.

On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> edged higher by 3.32 points, or 0.03 percent, to end at 9,509.28. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> inched down just 0.56 of a point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,025.57 and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shed 2.92 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,017.98.

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