U.S. stock index futures fell on Tuesday of data expected to show a fall in consumer confidence and as investors awaited data on the health of the key housing market.

Consumer confidence data, due at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) is expected to show consumers are a little less upbeat, according to a Reuters poll. The Conference Board, an industry group, is expected to report that its February consumer sentiment index slipped to 55.0 from 55.9 in January, which was the highest since September 2008.

Top home improvement chain Home Depot reported a quarterly profit on Tuesday as it benefited from efforts to improve efficiency. The company said its net profit was $342 million, or 20 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended on January 31, compared with a year-earlier loss of $54 million, or 3 cents a share.

The S&P Case-Shiller house price index of 20 major U.S. cities is expected, according to a Reuters poll, to have fallen 3.2 percent in December from a year earlier, That result, if it materializes, would be a solid improvement from the 5.3 percent fall registered in November and up from a record fall of 19 percent in January last year. The data is due at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT).

Investors are hoping Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke clarifies the Fed's thinking behind last week's surprising hike in the discount rate that begins the removal of the extraordinary liquidity that has propped up markets. Bernanke's testimony begins Wednesday.

S&P 500 futures fell 3.5 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 fell 44 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 9.25 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of leading European shares fell 0.7 percent, paring gains after a key German index of business sentiment unexpectedly fell.

A busy day for retail company results will include Target , the No. 2 U.S. discount retailer. Investors will want to know if efforts to boost sales by touting low prices and adding a wider selection of food paid off.

Other retailers to report include department store operator Macy's and Sears .

U.S. stocks finished flat on Monday as investors held back before congressional testimony by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, while scattered buying lifted shares of health insurers and banks.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by W Simon )