U.S. stock futures were flat on Tuesday ahead of a batch of new data that may give investors insight into the state of the recession-hit economy on the last day of the second quarter.
The data includes the Standard & Poor's/Case-Schiller home price indexes, the Chicago PMI index of manufacturing in the Midwest, the Conference Board's U.S. consumer confidence index, and Goldman Sachs/ICSC chain store sales.
On this last day of the quarter, fund managers often enhance portfolios as part of window dressing by selling losing stocks and scooping up the winners. The process can add to volatility.
These data are going to be closely looked at to confirm the relatively recent optimism that economically we're getting back on track, and investors are anticipating the numbers will be market friendly and have a positive net affect, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey.
Given it's the last day of the month and the quarter, there may be heightened window dressing in play as investors are putting the first half of the year behind them, and that is another dimension that could create additional volatility
Bakhos noted the shortened week could lead to thinner volumes and increased volatility. U.S. markets will be shut for the U.S. Independence Day holiday on Friday.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.50 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 gained 12 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1.25 points.
The S&P 500 is up 16.2 percent so far this quarter, putting it on track for its best period since the fourth quarter of 1998, when the index jumped nearly 21 percent. The S&P 500 has gained 37 percent since hitting a 12-year closing low in early March as early signs of an economic rebound surfaced.
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A slew of new data starts with the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs releasing chain store sales data at 7:45 a.m. EDT (1145 GMT).
This is followed at 8:55 a.m.(1255 GMT) by the Redbook weekly U.S. retail sales figures for June versus May will be released. In the prior period, sales fell 4.4 percent.
Standard & Poor's releases its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes for April at 9:00 a.m. (1300 GMT). Economists expect a fall of 1.8 percent versus a 2.2 percent decrease in the previous month, according to a Reuters survey.
After the open, the Institute of Supply Management-Chicago releases June index of manufacturing activity at 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT). Economists, polled by Reuters, forecast a reading of 39.0 in the month compared with 34.9 in May.
Finally, at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT) the Conference Board releases June consumer confidence. Economists, surveyed by Reuters, expect a reading of 55.0 compared with 54.9 in May.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)