Futures Slip as Traders Digest Data, Earnings

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U.S. stock-index futures slumped Tuesday as traders awaited a closely-watched report on American home prices and data on consumer confidence.

Today's Markets 

As of 9:06 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 20 points to 13812, S&P 500 futures dipped 3.8 points to 1493 and Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 5.8 points to 2732.

The week got off to a lackluster start Monday, with the S&P 500 snapping its longest winning streak in eight years. Still, the broad-market index is up more than 5% for 2013 and only 4.2% off its record high.

Earnings season is in full swing. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), the biggest U.S. drugmaker, posted fourth-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street's expectations on the top and bottom lines ahead of the opening bell. Ford's (NYSE:F) quarterly profits and sales also topped estimates.

On the economic front, the closely-watched S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows home prices slipped 0.1% in November from October on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Prices were expected to remain unchanged. The gauge jumped 5.5% from the same month in 2011, as expected. Recent data have pointed to substantial improvement in the housing market as it recovers from the depths of the 2008 crisis.

"The S&P Case-Shiller data are consistent with other housing data that show a broad-based recovery in housing activity and prices across the country," Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays, wrote in a note to clients.

Later, a report from the Conference Board is forecast to show consumer confidence having fallen slightly in January from December. This will be the first reading of this gauge since the resolution of fiscal cliff talks early this year, so economists will be looking to see how that impacted sentiment in the important sector.

The Federal Reserve also kicks off its two-day policy meeting on the day. The monetary policy decision is due from the central bank on Wednesday. Analysts expect the Fed to hold interest rates and the pace of quantitative easing steady.

Oil prices floated about in a tight range. The benchmark U.S. crude contract rose by a dime, or 0.1%, to $96.54 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.18% to $2.93 a gallon. In metals, gold rose $8.80, or 0.53%, to $1,664 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.26% to 2737, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.1% to 6301 and the German DAX dipped 0.23% to 7185.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 climbed 0.39% to 10867 and the Chinese Hang Seng slumped 0.07% to 23655.