Stocks were set to take a breather on Tuesday after the S&P 500 climbed to a 4-year high and ahead of factory orders data and minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.
Wall Street had a strong start to the second quarter on Monday, with the S&P 500 marking its highest close since mid-May 2008. The Dow scored its highest finish since December 31, 2007, while the Nasdaq once again closed at levels not seen since late 2000.
The S&P 500's uptrend remains intact but is becoming advanced above its 75-day moving average, said Robert Sluymer, analyst at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York.
He said a potential rotation is beginning to develop from leading sectors in the first quarter toward lagging ones, notably cyclicals.
Consumer discretionary and technology growth stocks have led the S&P through Q1, but consumer leaders are showing very early technical indications of pausing, stalling, as other less extended, oversold areas of the market begin to rebound, Sluymer said.
S&P 500 futures dipped 2.9 points and were 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 lost 32 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2.5 points.
Investors awaited minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's March 13 meeting, due at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), that may provide clues on any potential quantitative easing.
Federal Reserve policymakers on Monday signaled little appetite for further monetary steps to stimulate U.S. growth in an economy that is gradually strengthening.
The U.S. Commerce Dept releases February factory orders data at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expected a 1.5 percent rise, compared with a January decrease of 1.0 percent.
Supporting the technology sector, Apple Inc
The financial sector will be in focus after European Union regulators said they want banks to restructure to wean themselves off cheap central bank loans and attract funding from investors and markets.
The U.S. futures regulator accused the Royal Bank of Canada
The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into Groupon Inc's
U.S. automakers are due to release March auto sales later in the day. Economists expect annualized sales of 5.62 million cars and 5.80 million trucks versus February's 5.846 million cars and 5.854 million trucks.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will preside over an open session of the Financial Stability Oversight Council later Tuesday, along with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler.
(Reporting By Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)