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U.S. stocks: Futures point to red day ahead

U.S. stocks markets look set to open in the red, with futures for the three major benchmarks falling, and with only scant data on house prices and consumer confidence ahead to provide any kind of cues.

Futures for the S&P 500 index SPH5, -0.20% dropped 5.70 points, or 0.3%, to 2,080, after eking out a tiny gain on Monday, but that was still enough to secure a record close. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJH5, -0.09% lost 28 points, or 0.2%, to 17,955, while those for the Nasdaq 100 index NDH5, -0.13% fell 5.75 points, or 0.1%, to 4,305.25.

On the second-to-last trading day of 2014, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.09% was looking at a 13% yearly gain, the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.09% eyed an 8.8% advance and the Nasdaq 100 COMP, +0.00% flirted with a 15% rise. With only two days left, it’s impossible now for the S&P 500 to suffer four consecutive sessions of declines — the first calendar year this has happened.

Data: After a slow data day on Monday, Tuesday features both the Case-Shiller home-price index, due at 9 a.m. Eastern Time, and the consumer-confidence index, due at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Expectations are high that consumer confidence improved in December due to plunging gasoline prices, faster job creation and higher stock prices. Economists polled by MarketWatch predict the consumer-confidence index will rise to 93.8 from 88.7 in November, which would put the gauge just slightly below the post-recession peak of 94.1 achieved in October.

Another reading on consumer confidence, the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment index released on Dec. 23, posted its strongest level since January 2007.

Movers and shakers: Civeo Corp. CVEO, -28.66% might move after the company, which provides accommodation for energy workers, warned late Monday of lower-than-expected revenue due to capital-equipment cuts by energy companies.

Oil-related companies were also lower as oil prices continued their rout, with crude futures now down 50% since their 2014 high of $107.26 in June. Transocean Ltd. RIG, -0.37% fell 1% in premarket action, while Chevron Corp. CVX, -0.46% lost 0.9% and Occidental Petroleum Corp. OXY, -0.41% shed 0.8%.

Later Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to publish its weekly U.S. oil inventory data. The more closely watched data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due on Wednesday.

Other markets: The euro EURUSD, +0.10% was little changed around $1.2153 and traded around a more-than-two-year low after snap elections in Greece brought back fears of a “Grexit” — Greece leaving the eurozone. European stock markets were also lower. Read: Five crucial things to know about the snap Greek elections


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