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Stock Futures Cautious as Investors Await Economic Indicators

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Tuesday as the markets paused ahead of consumer sentiment and home price reports and digested a number of corporate earnings releases.

"The U.S. stock market remains near record highs despite recent weak economic reports and bearish investor sentiment," Gary Thayer, a macro strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis, said in a client note. "Several overseas stock markets have declined modestly during the past two months as the economic news softened. However, the U.S. economy is leading the global economic recovery, and the U.S. stock market has been more resilient than other markets in weaker economies."

He added that on another positive note inflation concerns are receding as the global economy grows slowly, and that is good for U.S. equities.

Drug giant Pfizer (PFE - Get Report) lowered its full-year outlook on weaker-than-expected sales and a stronger dollar that hurt results abroad. The company booked first-quarter earnings of 54 cents a share, missing estimates by a penny. Revenue also disappointed in the quarter. Shares were off 3% to $29.52.

Swiss banking giant UBS (UBS) posted first-quarter net profit of $1 billion, a swing from a $2 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2012 thanks to strong investment banking and wealth management. Shares were jumping 6.97% to $17.95.

Domino's Pizza (DPZ - Get Report) was rising 2.93% to $54.50 after the pizza chain beat first-quarter expectations by four cents at 59 cents a share on strong global sales and lower expenses.

Aetna (AET - Get Report) upped its full-year outlook helped by strong membership growth in its Medicare business. The insurer booked first-quarter profit of $1.50 a share, exceeding estimates by 11 cents. Revenue narrowly missed expectations.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.5 points, or 0.76 points below fair value, to 1,587.75. U.S. stocks gained Monday led by health care stocks after a report showed an improvement in home contract signings, a positive sign on national housing demand and economic momentum.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite 20-city home price index is expected to register a 9% annual gain in February after an 8.1% rise in January at 9 a.m.

The Chicago PMI is expected to show an increase to 52.5 in April from 52.4 in March at 9:45 a.m.

At 10 a.m., the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence report for April will be released. A rise to 60.8 from 59.7 from the prior month is anticipated.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Employment Cost Index rose a tame 0.3% in the first quarter, after a downwardly-revised 0.4% rise in the fourth quarter, a positive in the Federal Reserve's desire to keep wage inflation in check. The increase was less than the 0.5% increase expected, on average by economists, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 1 point, or 7.75 points below fair value, to 14,749. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 1.25 points, or unchanged, at 2,860.

The DAX in Germany was up 0.54% and the FTSE 100 in the UK was down 0.15%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed up 0.69% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished down 0.17%.

June crude oil futures were down 10 cents to $94.40.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 6/32, diluting the yield to 1.653%. The dollar was up 0.03% to $82.17 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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