* Pfizer, Merck rise as results beat expectations
* Herbalife shares tumble after it cuts sales outlook
* Futures up: Dow 33 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 7 pts
NEW YORK, July 29 U.S. stock index futures edged
higher on Tuesday following better-than-expected results from
companies such as Pfizer and Merck and ahead of data on home
prices and consumer sentiment.
* Merck reported better-than-expected quarterly
results as new drugs offset declining sales of ones facing
generic competition. Pfizer's higher-than-expected
second-quarter earnings were helped by growing sales of its
* The economic calendar for Tuesday includes
S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for May at 9:00 a.m. EDT (1300
GMT) and the Conference Board's consumer sentiment for July an
* Later on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve begins a two-day
meeting on monetary policy. The Fed could make subtle yet
telling changes to its policy statement due Wednesday, as it
plans how and when to eventually raise interest rates.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 3 points and fair
value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract
- indicated a slightly higher open. Dow Jones industrial average
e-mini futures rose 33 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini
futures added 7 points.
* Shares of health insurer Aetna rose after it
reported a higher second-quarter profit, helped by last year's
acquisition of Medicare and Medicaid provider Coventry Health
* Spirit Airlines rose 2.6 percent in light
premarket trading after the low-cost U.S. carrier reported a 54
percent rise in second-quarter profit.
* Costco shares rose 2.2 percent premarket after
Goldman Sachs added the stock to its conviction buy list.
* Herbalife cut its sales outlook for the year after
raising it three months earlier, following billionaire investor
Bill Ackman's latest round of accusations against the company
last week. Shares of the weight-loss and nutrition products
company slid 11.4 percent in premarket trading.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)