Stock index futures were lower on Tuesday as investors awaited data on housing and consumer confidence to gauge the pace of the economy recovery.
U.S. home prices likely eked out a small gain in June, but a rise would represent the final tail winds of the homebuyer tax credit that ended in April rather than housing market improvement.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index likely rose 0.2 percent in June after a 0.5 percent increase in May, seasonally adjusted, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The data comes at 9 a.m. EDT.
At 10 a.m. EDT, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index is seen edging up to 50.5 in August from 50.4 in July, which was the lowest reading since February.
Later Tuesday, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its August 10 policy meeting, where it endorsed a more dovish monetary posture, citing a willingness to reinvest in monetary accommodation. Last week Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech the recovery had weakened more than expected.
We have a slew of economic data. Several things the market will be looking at very carefully are consumer confidence, the FOMC minutes, Case-Shiller and Chicago PMI, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
It is just a very nervous market and going into September certainly doesn't help. Traditionally September is a weak month for stocks.
S&P 500 futures were down 3.7 points and were below 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 slipped 32 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 9.75 points.
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European stocks were down 1 percent at midday and on track to record their sixth monthly loss this year, as investors fretted about the health of the U.S. economy ahead of key data.
Japan-led Asian stocks dropped Tuesday as worries about the flagging U.S. economy triggered profit-taking across the region and fed a five-month rally in U.S. and Japanese government bonds. The Nikkei index closed down 3.6 percent.
U.S. stocks declined Monday in the year's lightest volume as worries about the pace of the recovery overshadowed data showing a rise in consumer spending and income.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)