Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday ahead of key data on productivity and labor costs, and before the Federal Reserve kicks off a policy meeting.
S&P 500 index futures were down 2.3 points, and slightly 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 fell 11 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 3.50 points.
CIT Group Inc
More evidence of an economic recovery could come from productivity and unit labor costs data due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Economists in a Reuters survey forecast quarterly productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, would rise 5.3 percent versus a 1.6 percent increase in the first quarter. Unit labor costs, a gauge of inflation and profit pressures, are seen down 2.4 percent compared with a 3.0 percent rise in the previous quarter.
Investors are closely watching a two-day monetary policy meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve that kicks off Tuesday. While interest rates are likely to remain at current levels, the focus will be on signs of an exit strategy from the Fed's quantitative easing policy.
We are now at a crossroad between investors buying consumer discretionaries and financials, thinking that we are in a V-shaped recovery. But if that is true, we will be facing higher interest rates and something similar to that, said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc in Toledo, Ohio.
Other economic data due includes the retail sales index of department and chain store sales for August released by Redbook. The data is due at 8:55 a.m.
The Commerce Department reports wholesale inventories for June at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast inventories to fall by 0.9 percent in June versus a decline of 0.8 percent in May.
Investors will get a better idea of consumer spending when ABC News releases its consumer comfort index for the week ended August 9. In the previous week, the index read -49. The data is due at 5:00 p.m.
On the earnings front, Applied Materials Inc
Stocks pointing to a lower open include Rino International Corp
Quest Software Inc
Wall Street ended lower Monday after investors sold off some equities after a four-week rally took the broad S&P 500 index to a 10-month high last week. The index is now up 48.9 percent from its 12-year closing low set on March 9.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)