Stock index futures were little changed Tuesday as upbeat data from Germany offset Moody's ratings downgrade of six euro-zone countries and investors remained concerned about the financial health of the region.
Late Monday Moody's put the United Kingdom's Aaa rating in jeopardy for the first time and warned it may cut France and Austria as well. Moody's also downgraded six euro-zone nations, including Spain and Italy.
But data from Germany suggested that Europe's bulwark economy is picking up pace again. The Mannheim-based ZEW economic think tank's monthly poll of economic sentiment jumped to 5.4 from minus 21.6 in January, well above the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts for a rise to minus 12.0.
Moody's credit moves on European sovereigns were just playing catch up, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.
S&P 500 futures were flat and in line with 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 fell 2 points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.75 point.
Pressuring the financial sector, Citigroup downgraded Bank of America Corp
The U.S. Commerce Department releases January retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Economists expect a 0.7 percent month-over-month rise compared with a 0.1 percent rise in December. Excluding automobiles, sales are expected to rise 0.5 percent versus a 0.2 percent drop in December.
The Commerce Department also issues December Business Inventories for December at 10:00 a.m. Economists expect a monthly rise of 0.5 percent versus a 0.3 percent rise in the prior month.
The Labor Department releases import and export prices for January at 8:30 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.2 percent month-on-month rise in both imports and exports. In the prior month, import prices dropped 0.1 percent and export prices fell 0.5 percent.
Avon Products Inc
U.S. and European regulators approved Google Inc's
Greece has admitted it still faces a tough job in persuading the European Union and IMF to save it from bankruptcy even after its parliament approved savage extra budget cuts, provoking a night of looting and burning in central Athens.
U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the S&P 500 near seven-month highs.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)