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U.S. stock-index futures climbed mildly after a key report showed the housing recovery is continuing despite worries about rising interest rates.
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As of 9:08 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 21 points to 15347, S&P 500 futures advanced 1.3 points to 1694 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 9 points to 3219.
Enthusiasm over the Federal Reserve's move to not begin the process of exiting its massive bond-buying program has been waning over the past several sessions. Indeed, the markets closed out the day on Monday at just about the levels they were ahead of the Fed's policy-setting meeting last week.
"We’ve either reached a point where the market can’t keep using the same excuse to rally with the same effectiveness or we assume that the taper is coming soon anyway," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group wrote in an email to clients, calling recent trading "unusual action."
On the economic front, home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas rose 1.8% in July from June on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price report. Prices were up 12.4% from the same month in 2012 amid the burgeoning housing recovery
Later, at 10:00 a.m. ET, traders will get a look at consumer confidence from the Conference Board. The firm's gauge is forecast to have fallen to 79.9 this month from 81.5 in August. Confidence could have taken a hit from high gasoline prices and stagnant wage growth, economists said.
Meanwhile, on the corporate front, Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) and Tokyo Electron agreed to a $29 billion tie-up that will create a giant in the electronics space.
In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures slid $1.72, or 1.6%, to $104.67 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.06% to $2.621 a gallon. Gold dropped $12.80, or 0.96%, to $1,314 a troy ounce.