Stock Futures Slip Ahead of Data

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Stock-index futures fell slightly on Tuesday following Wall Street's pre-holiday rally last week as traders awaited fresh data on the housing market and consumer confidence.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:55 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 21 points to 12,197, S&P 500 futures slipped 3.3 points to 1,257 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.5 point to 2,279.

The markets have shifted into rally mode as the end of the year approaches. The Dow and broader S&P 500 have both ended in the green for three out of the past four weeks, and both are in positive territory for the year. Indeed, the blue chips have tacked on 2.1% so far in December.

A significant driver of the markets' strong performance over the past week has been a round of data showing the labor market, housing sector and consumer sentiment are improving, suggesting broader growth could begin strengthen. Reports on the housing market and consumer sentiment are on tap for Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller gauge of home prices in 20 U.S. cities likely edged up by 0.5% in October from the month prior, economists say. Still, prices are still down by more than 3% from 2010, according to forecasts. The housing market has been slow to recover as housing prices and demand have remained subdued, while supply has remained high.

Meanwhile, economists anticipate consumer confidence ticked higher during December. Confidence in the economy tends to be a key variable in consumers' buying decisions, meaning these data could have an outsized affect on retailers. Separate reports have shown consumer sentiment did indeed improve in December.

U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Christmas holiday and trading is expected to be thin on Tuesday, traders say.

In the foreign exchange market, the euro rose 0.12% to $1.3058, while the greenback fell 0.16% against six trading partners.

Commodities markets were modestly to the downside. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York fell 5 cents, or 0.04%, to $99.64 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline fell 0.41% to $2.676 a gallon.

In metals, gold slid $11.50, or 0.72%, to $1,595 a troy ounce. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yields 2.028% from 2.031% as traders bought the safe-haven asset.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips fell 0.05% and the German DAX gained 0.05% to 5,882. In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.46% to 8,441.

The London and Hong Kong stock exchanges are closed for holidays.

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