* Case-Shiller home price index, consumer confidence data
* Marvell Technology climbs after KKR reports stake
* Berkshire Hathaway to buy unit from Phillips 66
* Futures up: Dow 16 pts, S&P 2.3 pts, Nasdaq 4.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 31 U.S. stock index futures inched
higher on Tuesday before housing and consumer confidence data,
with the S&P 500 on track for its best year since 1997 and the
Dow set to record its best performance since 1996.
Economic data expected on Tuesday's full trading session
includes the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index at 9 a.m. (1400
GMT). Expectations call for a gain of 0.7 percent on a
non-seasonally adjusted basis.
Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), investors
will eye the Conference Board's consumer confidence data.
Expectations call for the reading to increase to 76 from the
70.4 in the prior month.
"Consumer confidence, that is an interesting number because
even though it's been lagging it looks like this holiday season
was OK enough for retailers. But a little bit of data is always
good," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort
Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
The S&P 500 is up 29.1 percent for the year and the
Dow is up nearly 26 percent for 2013, boosted in large
part by stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve. The Fed
recently announced it will trim its monthly bond purchases in
response to an improving economic picture.
The Nasdaq is up 37.6 percent for the year, setting
the technology-heavy index up for its best yearly performance
"The data (this year) wasn't as strong as I would have liked
to have seen it, but I guess comparatively we have seen
improvement in the fundamental data that tells us the economy
continues to heal. I can't wait until I'm back in the business
of just looking at companies as opposed to watching the Fed,"
S&P 500 futures rose 2.3 points 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 gained
16 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 4.75 points.
For the month, the Dow is up 2.6 percent, the S&P has gained
2 percent and the Nasdaq has risen 2.3 percent.
Trading volume is once again expected to be light with U.S.
markets closed Wednesday for the New Year's holiday. Many
traders are away, so the thin volume could make for greater
Volume on Monday totaled 4.37 billion shares, well short of
the 5.89 billion average so far this month, according to data
from BATS Global Markets.
Marvell Technology Group Ltd jumped 5.7 percent to
$14.54 in premarket trade after private equity firm KKR & Co LLP
reported a 6.8 percent stake in the chipmaker, according
to a regulatory filing.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc struck a
deal for around $1.4 billion of stock to buy a Phillips 66
business that makes chemicals to improve the flow
potential of pipelines. Phillips shares gained 1.7 percent to
$76 in light premarket trade.
Hertz Global Holdings Inc gained 3.8 percent to
$26.90 before the opening bell after the company said it had
adopted a one-year shareholder rights plan in response to
"unusual and substantial activity" it has observed in its
European shares inched higher early in a shortened session
on Tuesday before the New Year break, with pan-European indexes
set to post their biggest annual gains since 2009.