U.S. stocks were set for a modestly higher open on Tuesday ahead of an expected lift in a measure of U.S. consumer confidence, indicating the economic recovery remained on track to sustain the year-end rally.

General Motors Co gained 2.4 percent to $35.30 in premarket trade after several analysts initiated coverage of the automaker's shares, including overweight ratings at Barclays Capital and Morgan Stanley.

Trading volumes, already light for the holiday season, were expected to remain thin as the northeastern United States digs itself out from a blizzard that disrupted air and rail travel at the end of the busy Christmas weekend.

The blizzard pushed oil prices up to just below a more than two-year high struck the previous session with U.S. crude for February up 46 cents at $91.46 a barrel.

We have some economic data today in which we should see a new burst of consumer enthusiasm as consumer confidence jumps up, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.

All in all, you have metals prices higher, gold is knocking on $1,400 an ounce, oil prices up, and commodity prices in general moving higher, which is also a good sign.

Futures showed little reaction to the S&P/Case Shiller home prices indexes, which showed prices of U.S. single-family homes fell almost double the expected pace in October, the fourth-straight monthly decline.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index for December is expected at 10 a.m. <1500 GMT> and is forecast to rise to 56.0 from November.

Further evidence of a returning consumer included the MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse report, which said domestic retail sales rose 5.5 percent year over year during the 50-day period from Nov 5 to Dec 24.

S&P 500 futures rose 2.2 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 17 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 2.5 points.

MannKind Corp jumped 9.8 percent to $8.75 in premarket trade after the inhaled-insulin developer said the U.S. health regulator would not be able to complete the review of Afrezza by December 29 and would require about four more weeks.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)