Stock index futures were slightly higher on Tuesday, as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the strength of the U.S. recovery and the euro-zone debt crisis.
Bernanke said the U.S. economy appeared to have enough momentum to avoid a double-dip recession, citing strengthening consumer and business spending.
Bernanke also said European leaders were committed to ensuring the survival of the euro and had enough money to meet obligations of heavily indebted member countries.
You disseminate what Bernanke says and say that's good. His opinion is we are not going to go into a double dip recession and the euro zone is going to make it. But then you get the second-guessers that say the fact that he had to say it is disturbing, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.5 points and were slightly above 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 25 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 4 points.
The euro, used by investors in recent weeks as a barometer for euro-zone stability, slipped Tuesday, reversing early gains and hovered near the four-year low reached against the dollar Monday.
As soon as we find the level where the euro doesn't go down every day, whether that level is at 1.20, 1.15 or 1.10, you are going to have a market that keeps a keen eye on what happens there and reacts to the movements in that, added Hogan.
In a bid to salvage confidence in financial markets, finance ministers from the debt-stricken euro zone agreed on Monday on a Special Purpose Vehicle to raise up to 440 billion euros ($525.4 billion) to lend to nations that run into Greek-style payments problems.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc will be in focus after it was subpoenaed by the commission probing the financial crisis. Goldman has flooded the panel with 2.5 billion pages of records, increasing tensions in its relationship with the U.S. government.
European shares fell about 1 percent on Tuesday, extending a decline to a third day, on intensified worries about European debt levels, with German utilities weaker as they face a tax hike.
U.S. stocks fell on Monday, taking the S&P 500 to its lowest close in seven months and down 13.7 percent from its April 23 closing high for the year. The index is firmly in correction territory.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)