NEW YORK -
Stock index futures edged lower on Tuesday as investors looked to take profits following an extended rally and as they waited an onslaught of earnings and data.
On Monday, the S&P 500 index closed slightly lower, ending an eight-day run of gains. However, the index remained above 1,500, suggesting there was still support for the market.
Investors poured $55 billion in new cash into stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds in January, the biggest monthly inflow on record, research provider TrimTabs Investment Research said.
The gains have come on a strong start to earnings season. Thomson Reuters data showed that of the 150 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far, 67.3 percent have beaten analysts' expectations, which is a higher proportion than over the past four quarters and above the average since 1994.
Ford Motor Co
Eli Lilly and Co
S&P 500 futures fell 5.3 points and were below 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 fell 2 points and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 9.5 points.
The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee begins two days of meetings on interest rates. Traders speculated more solid U.S. growth indicators might see the Fed pull back on its aggressive easing stimulus, which has played a key role in fuelling an equity market rally since the second half of last year.
Investors will also look to the latest economic data for evidence the recent rally, which took major averages to five-year highs, was justified.
January consumer confidence, due at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) is seen dipping to 64 from 65.1 in the previous month. The S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index for November is seen showing an increase of 0.6 percent in home prices. Case/Shiller is due at 9 a.m.
While the housing market has recently shown signs of improvement, data released on Monday showed pending home sales unexpectedly slumped in December.
U.S. stocks edged modestly lower on Monday. However, Caterpillar Inc
(Editing by W Simon)