U.S. stock futures were modestly higher on Tuesday ahead of a new round of data that may give investors insight into the state of the recession-hit economy on the last day of the second quarter.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for April is expected to fall 1.8 percent versus a 2.2 percent decrease in the previous month, according to a Reuters survey.
The Institute of Supply Management-Chicago June index of manufacturing activity is seen by economists at 39.0 compared with 34.9 in May.
Economists surveyed by Reuters look for the Conference Board June consumer confidence reading at 55.0 versus 54.9 in May.
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.
I think you are going to see a lot of fund managers window dressing, so I think you'll definitely have an up day today, said Dave Rovelli, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Canaccord Adams in New York.
This is the first quarter they (fund managers) can really shine in six quarters so I wouldn't be surprised if you saw a lot of buying toward the end of the day.
Analysts 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 1.70 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 16 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.75 of a point.
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.
In broker news, Barclays raised FedEx Corp
Goldman Sachs downgraded the oil refining sector to cautious, writing that even with meaningful underperformance having already occurred this year, we see little reason for investors to own the sector.
As part of Goldman's call, both Sunoco
U.S. chain store sales rose 1.6 percent in the week ended June 27 compared with a flat reading the previous week and were up 0.6 percent on a year-on-year basis, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.
Investors also awaited the Redbook weekly U.S. retail sales figures for June.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)