Stock index futures rose on Tuesday along with the euro as strong demand at debt auctions eased short-term concerns about euro zone fiscal problems.
The common currency has been the yardstick used by equity investors lately to gauge risk appetite.
The stability in the euro is allowing markets to continue this slow grind ahead, said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. We're able to look at the news flow as having already been priced in ahead of some economic data.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.2 points and were 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 50 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11 points.
S&P 500 futures face psychological and technical hurdles ahead, with the 1,100 level and the 200-day simple moving average at around 1,102.
Spain and Belgium sold government debt and Ireland issued bonds in auctions that soothed investors worried about the euro zone's debt crisis.
European shares traded higher led by banks as investors brushed aside a downgrade of Greece's credit rating by Moody's.
BP Plc's U.S. chief faces accusations in Congress on Tuesday that the energy giant caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history with a calculated strategy to cut costs. Fitch downgraded BP's credit rating to 'BBB' from 'AA', citing near-term payment risks.
Lamar McKay, the head of BP America, will be joined at the hearings by executives from Exxon Mobil Corp , Chevron Corp , ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell seeking to stave off repercussions for the industry.
On the macroeconomic front, the New York Federal Reserve releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for June at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), while the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) issues its June housing market index at 10 a.m.
For the Empire survey, economists expect a reading of 20 following May's 19.11, while for the NAHB index, a reading of 21 is expected, slightly lower than May's 22.
Best Buy Co is to report its quarterly scorecard at noon EDT. Investors will look into the numbers for clues about the health of the U.S. consumer.
News Corp will be in the spotlight after BSkyB rejected its proposal to buy the rest of the company News Corp doesn't already own in a deal that valued BSkyB at about $19 billion.
Hershey Co plans to cut 500 to 600 jobs, or up to 5 percent of its workforce, in a restructuring aimed at saving some $60 million to $80 million annually.
Tenet Healthcare Corp gained 3.4 percent to $5.23 in extended Monday trade after the hospital operator boosted its 2010 adjusted cash flow view by $50 million and forecast 2010 earnings between 27 cents to 40 cents a share.
U.S. stocks ended little changed in a low-volume session Monday after the Greece downgrade curbed risk appetite.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 20.18 points, or 0.20 percent, to 10,190.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> shed 1.97 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,089.63, and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> inched up just 0.36 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to 2,243.96.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)