Rumours of a possible emergency Federal Reserve meeting to consider cutting interest rates ignited a torrent of buying on Asian and European stock markets on Tuesday, sweeping up U.S. stock-index futures. But all that could change as investors set their sights on a new reading of the battered U.S. housing market and quarterly results from mortgage financing giant Freddie Mac before the opening bell. And at 2 p.m. EST, the Federal Reserve is set to release minutes from its meeting last month, which may detail the Fed's view of the economy several years out and possible clues about next month's meeting. "We're looking higher," Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group, told Reuters, referring to a likely stronger opening on Wall Street. "The market is taking comfort in the positive earnings reports, which are welcome distractions from ongoing credit problems. However, the thinning out of market participants means it will take less to turn the market either way." Investment adviser Dennis Gartman agrees. "As the Dow rallied from the August lows into the highs of early October, volume tended clearly to wane, while as prices retreated from the October highs, volume rose." As a result, he figures the market is "signalling weakness then, and not strength, and it is signalling selling strength rather than buying weakness." Canadian inflation slowed unexpectedly in October, dropping below the Bank of Canada's target for the first time in 16 months, which will get investors talking up a possible interest rate cut by the central bank. "It's looking more likely that [central bank Governor]David Dodge's swan song will be rate cuts," BMO Capital Markets says. "Looks like January, but you can't rule out December." Also setting Tuesday's market tone was Hewlett-Packard's positive financial outlook and big stock buyback unveiled after markets closed on Monday, along with department store chain Nordstrom, which topped a recently lowered profit forecast. At 7:30 a.m. EST, Dow Jones industrial futures were 97 points higher, with S&P 500 futures up 11 points and Nasdaq futures, spurred by H-P, up by 20 points.