Stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday as renewed U.S. dollar weakness lifted shares of natural resource companies and investors set their sights on key housing and inflation data due out before the bell.
One day after Wall Street logged its worst slide in a month, investors will concentrate on the data for fresh clues about the extent of the economic recovery and whether resurgent commodity prices are starting to fuel inflationary pressures.
We are flat to slightly higher in early trade, owing a lot to what we're seeing in the dollar, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston. The dollar has pulled back and you're seeing some strength in some of the commodity prices, and that's important.
U.S. front-month crude jumped $1.74, or 2.5 percent, to $72.36 a barrel as the U.S. dollar fell broadly following comments from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev saying the world needed new reserve currencies.
Among natural resource stocks rising before the bell, aluminum producer Alcoa Inc
S&P 500 futures rose 3.7 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 climbed 27 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 7.25 points.
Among the data to be released on Wednesday, the U.S. May Producer Price Index (PPI) is due out at 8.30 a.m., and economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.6 percent increase compared with a 0.3 percent rise in April.
May U.S. housing starts are also due at the same time, with economists surveyed by Reuters forecasting a 490,000 annualized rate compared with a 458,000 rate in April. The annualized rate for building permits is expected to be 500,000 versus an April rate of 498,000. U.S. industrial output data for May is due at 9:15 a.m., with economists surveyed forecasting a drop of 0.9 percent, compared with April's 0.5 percent drop.
In Monday's light-volume session, the indexes tallied their biggest one-day percentage losses since mid-May. But the broad S&P 500 is still up 36.5 percent from the 12-year closing low of March 9.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)