Stocks headed for a flat open on Tuesday as government data pointing to a slower than expected recovery in consumer spending fueled caution even after strong quarterly earnings from Goldman Sachs Group


Even though June total retail sales rose by a 0.6 percent, more than forecast, sales excluding autos missed estimates.

Stock index futures rallied ahead of Goldman Sachs results but reversed course as investors booked profits from Monday's surge and worried that the pace of consumer spending was not picking up strongly enough.

It's a 'buy the rumor, sell the news,' kind of thing. (Goldman) did print a good number, but based on yesterday's action it was apparently all built into the stock, at least for now, said Terry Morris, senior equity manager at National Penn Investors Trust Co in Reading, Pennsylvania.

It just goes to show that its all relative to the expectations that were embedded into the price of the stock at the time.

Goldman shares were off faintly to $148.90 before the opening bell.

S&P 500 futures rose 3.3 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 climbed 45 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 4.25 points.

Dell Inc was set to weigh on the tech sector after the computer maker forecast lower gross margins for the July quarter.

(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica and Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)