U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday as investors aimed to head into the Independence Day holiday without making big positions in their portfolios.
Trading volume is expected to be light, making stocks more vulnerable to a selloff if factory orders data due at 10:00 a.m ET (1400 GMT), usually not a major mover for the stock market, turn out weaker than expected. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a rise of 0.2 per cent in factory orders for May compared with a 0.6 per cent decline in April.
Microsoft Corp will be in focus after it admitted its purchase of aQuantive, its largest acquisition in the Internet sector, was effectively worthless and wiped out any profit for the last quarter.
The U.S. Justice Department is probing Chesapeake Energy Corp and Encana Corp for possible collusion after a Reuters report showed that top executives of the two rivals plotted in 2010 to avoid bidding against each other in Michigan land deals, a source close to the probe said.
S&P 500 futures added 1.2 points and were in line with 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 were flat, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2.25 points.
European stocks climbed for the third session in a row as a recent raft of weak U.S. and European macro data has raised investors' expectation that central banks will soon take fresh policy action to kick-start their economies.
The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates to a record low on Thursday but may need to do more to satisfy financial markets already starting to wonder about the solidity of last week's summit measures to tackle the euro zone crisis.
Monday's U.S. ISM manufacturing report, whose main index registered a contraction in the sector for the first time since July 2009, also boosted speculation that the Federal Reserve will announce it will embark on a third round of asset purchases, known as 'QE3', perhaps as soon as the central bank's next policy meeting from July 31 to Aug. 1.
A U.S. judge on Monday rejected a request by Samsung Electronics Co. to lift a ban on U.S. sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1, another setback for the South Korean firm in its tablet patent battle with iPad maker Apple Inc..
U.S. investment management firm BlackRock is buying Swiss Re's European private equity and infrastructure fund of funds franchise, it said on Tuesday.