* Report shows home price rise; consumer confidence data due
* Marvell Technology climbs after KKR reports stake
* Berkshire Hathaway to buy unit from Phillips 66
* Futures up: Dow 34 pts, S&P 3.6 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 31 U.S. stocks were set for a
modestly higher open on Tuesday after data showed home prices
rose, keeping the S&P 500 on track for its best year since 1997
and the Dow on pace to record its best performance since 1996.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan
areas gained 0.2 percent in October from September but posted
their strongest annualized gain in October in more than seven
Later in the session at 10 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 3.6 points and were 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 34
points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6 points.
For the month to date, 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
$14.55 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 were flat at $74.72 in
Hertz Global Holdings Inc gained 4 percent to $26.95
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 shares.