Wall Street was poised for a slightly higher open on Tuesday as a report showed home prices rose in January for the eighth-straight month, while corporate news, including about Apple Inc, supported early gains.
Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller 20-city home price index unexpectedly rose by 0.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, matching a December increase, indicating a the U.S. housing market was stabilizing.
They could have been a lot worse with home sales down so much after rising in the fall on the first-time homeowner tax credit. It's showing steady improvement on a year-over-year basis, said Pierre Ellis, senior global economist at Decision Economics Inc in New York.
Verizon shares were up 2 percent in premarket trade at $31.05 and Apple shares gained 1.7 percent to $236.25.
New York-traded shares of UBS AG
S&P 500 futures rose 1.5 points and were slightly higher than 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 11 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 2.75 points.
Investors are now awaiting March consumer confidence data due at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expected a monthly rise in the index to 50.0 from 46.0.
Key labor market data is due Friday, with a U.S. Labor Department report expected to show the economy created about 190,000 jobs in March, but investors will have to be brave enough to bet ahead of the data release because the U.S. stock market will be closed for the Good Friday holiday.
Wall Street ended higher on Monday as miners and energy companies advanced on weakness in the U.S. dollar and investors bought recent high fliers as the quarter's end approached.
The Dow is up 4.5 percent for the quarter so far, down from gains of 7.4 percent in previous quarter, while the Nasdaq is on track for a 6 percent gain this quarter versus an increase of 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter.
In other corporate news, Toyota Motor Corp
U.S. drug maker Eli Lilly
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)