US STOCKS-Futures edge up as investors search for catalysts
* Investors pause with S&P up more than 14 percent this year
* Tesla Motors jumps in premarket, extending recent gains
* U.S. shares of Nokia drop after unveiling new phone
* Indexes: Dow up 3 pts, S&P up 1.3 pt, Nasdaq off 1 pt
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday as investors looked for reasons to push stocks further after a rally that repeatedly took the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs.
The market has been trading sideways over the past few sessions, with the winding down of the quarterly earnings season and a light economic calendar providing no strong catalyst.
Still, the S&P is up more than 14 percent so far this year, propelled by some earnings that beat lowered estimates and the Federal Reserve's easy monetary policy designed to stimulate the economy.
While some analysts argue the long-term trend remains positive, many see momentum waning in the near term in the absence of positive catalysts. Volume has been lighter than average, and volatility has been low in recent days.
"We have had such a big move, and it's been hard to generate much more significant upside in the short term," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"There is a heavy preponderance of people waiting to buy the dip and it has led to days where selloffs are really just flat. We are heading into the summer without a lot of momentum either way."
Wall Street ended little changed on Monday as investors paused following three weeks of gains, though strong retail sales data helped to limit losses.
With the S&P 500 at record highs, investors are questioning whether current levels are justified, given the massive stimulus by the Fed and the possibility that improvement in economic data could cause the U.S. central bank to begin curbing its easy money policy.
Overseas, European shares shed 0.1 percent as data on German analyst and investor sentiment came in weaker than expected, through it was slightly up from the previous month.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.3 point and were slightly above 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 added 3 points and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 1 point.
Economic data expected on Tuesday includes import-export prices for April at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.5 percent drop in imports and a 0.2 percent fall in exports.
In company news, Nokia Corp unveiled a new version of its Lumia smartphone line, but U.S.-listed shares fell 4.7 percent to $3.66 in premarket trading.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Monday that an Indiana farmer had violated Monsanto Co's patent for a type of soybean.
U.S.-listed shares of Sony Corp rose 5.8 percent to $19.98 before the opening bell after billionaire hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb called on the company to spin off its lucrative entertainment arm.
Tesla Motors extended its meteoric rise following a gain of 40 percent last week after lifting its sales outlook. It jumped 5.6 percent to $92.74 before the bell.
Agilent Technologies Inc is the only S&P company scheduled to report results on Tuesday.
Most corporate earnings have been better than expected this quarter. With 90 percent of the S&P having reported, 67.2 percent have topped earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, which is even with the average over the past four quarters.
However, only 46.9 percent have beaten revenue expectations, below the 52 percent average over the past four quarters.
Asian shares steadied, snapping a two-day losing streak as a data showing a surprising rise in U.S. retail sales boosted optimism about the recovery in the world's largest economy.