U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Tuesday, with investor focused on corporate earnings and the effects an interest rate hike in China may have on demand growth.
* Merger activity, which drove the Dow and S&P to 2-1/2 year highs on Monday, continued Tuesday, with Kindred Healthcare Inc's planned acquisition of RehabCare Group Inc to create a big post-acute healthcare services company.
* China's central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points, its second increase in just over a month in a new bid to tame inflation, while consumer prices in Brazil surged at their fastest pace in nearly six years in January.
* Accelerating inflation in emerging markets, coupled with recent upbeat economic data, could favor equities in the United States and other developed markets.
* S&P 500 futures dipped 0.3 point and were nearly flat in terms of 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 9 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.75 point.
* Corporate earnings could once again dictate near-term market direction, with Walt Disney Co and Sara Lee Corp set to release results.
* Exchange group NYSE Euronext reported a smaller-than-expected 21 percent fall in quarterly profit, reflecting weaker trading activity amid growing competition.
* Intel Corp resumed shipments of a flawed chipset for use with its new processors, responding to demands from personal computer makers that will use the chips selectively.
* Following Monday's gains, the S&P 500 faces resistance around 1,325 with near-term support at 1,300 and 1,295.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)