Stock Futures Pause After Fed-Fueled Rally

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U.S. stock-index futures were little changed on Tuesday after Wall Street rallied in the prior session as traders awaited several key economic reports.

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Today's Markets

As of 9:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 6 points to 13192, S&P 500 futures dipped 1.1 points to 1414 and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 0.25 point to 2777.

The broad S&P 500 zoomed to its highest level since May 2008 on Monday as traders cheered commentary from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hinting that the central bank will continue on its pro-growth monetary policy regime until the labor market begins improving at a much quicker rate.

Sentiment has remained upbeat, but market participants were awaiting multiple economic reports before placing bets.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows home prices fell 0.8% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in January, a slightly bigger decline than the 0.6% drop expected. Home prices were down 3.8% from a year ago, in line with estimates.

Home prices that were pummeled during the financial crisis have remained depressed and data have shown demand still remains weak while supplies have been running high.

Meanwhile, a set of data from the Conference Board is forecast to show consumer confidence having ticked slightly lower in March. Analysts have been paying especially close attention to the important consumer sector as quickly rising gasoline prices have begun cutting into budgets.

On the corporate front, Abu Dhabi's ruling family has been involved in talks about acquiring a stake in British state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS), according to a report by Reuters. The report said the deal was not yet closed and that it could take months before it is finalized.

Commodities were little changed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York gained 11 cents, or 0.1%, to $107.14 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline slipped 0.43% to $3.402 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $3.30, or 0.2%, to $1,692 a troy ounce. U.S. Treasuries advanced, pushing yields slightly lower. The 10-year yield fell 0.01-percentage point to 2.241%.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips rose 0.45%, the English FTSE 100 edged higher by 0.01% to 5904 and the German DAX gained 0.66% to 7126.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 soared 2.4% to 10255 and the Chinese Hang Seng rallied 1.8% to 21047.

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