Stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Tuesday as investors awaited key economic data for new signs of recovery one day after the Dow and the S&P rallied to their highest closes in more than 15 months.
Investors will get a better picture of the state of consumer spending after automakers report U.S. vehicle sales for December. Economists in a Reuters survey expect median annualized domestic sales of 3.90 million cars and 4.45 million trucks, versus 3.87 million cars and 4.44 million trucks sold in November.
The Commerce Department is to report November factory orders at 10 a.m. EST. Economists see a rise of 0.5 percent, compared with a 0.6 percent gain in the prior month.
We had a very strong day yesterday, and it will be interesting to see whether the momentum will continue ... Basically, it will depend on the data today, including car sales, factory orders and home sales, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
Kraft Foods Inc
Early Tuesday, Berkshire Hathaway Inc
Merger and acquisitions always increase enthusiasm among investors, as they generally indicate better days ahead for the economy, Cardillo said.
S&P 500 futures were unchanged 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 were unchanged, while Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.25 points.
The National Association of Realtors will release pending home sales for November at 10 a.m. EST. Economists look for a 2.0 percent decline, compared with a 3.7 percent rise in the previous month.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)