Stock index futures rose in low volume on Tuesday a day after the S&P 500 hit a fresh 4-year high and ahead of economic data and this week's liquidity injection by the European Central Bank aimed at supporting the euro zone's ailing banking sector.
The benchmark S&P 500 edged up to close at its highest level since mid-2008 on Monday, extending gains for a third session on continued hopes the U.S. economic recovery is accelerating.
Europe's banks were expected to take in another half trillion euros in cheap three-year loans offered by the ECB on Wednesday, according to a Reuters poll of money market traders.
The market is higher on enthusiasm over tomorrow's injection of liquidity to the banking system in Europe, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
The S&P 500 closed at 1,367.59 on Monday and still faced technical resistance at 1,370. A push above that point could spur more buying as money managers chase performance.
It's only a matter of time before the S&P hits 1,375, and that will accelerate momentum buying, Cardillo said.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.5 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 46 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11 points.
Durable goods orders data for January is due at 8:30 a.m. EST, with economists expecting a 1 percent drop in orders after a 3 percent rise in December.
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for December is due at 9 a.m. EST, and February's consumer confidence data will be released at 10 a.m. EST.
Brent crude futures dropped to hover near $123, halting a surge that threatened to hurt the global economy.
Equity investors were still on their toes on persistent concerns over supply from the Middle East, but analysts said economic news will continue to be the driving force supporting the U.S. equities market as long as it continues to point to growth.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)