Stock futures strengthened Tuesday as oil continued to slide and traders bet on a strong reading on January retail sales.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading 3 points above fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 5-point rise. The 10-year Treasury bond was down 4/32 in price to yield 4.59% -- eight basis points below the two-year yield -- while the dollar fell against the yen and euro.

Oil fell, with the March crude contract recently losing 31 cents to $60.93 a barrel. The price is just 3 cents above where front-month crude ended the last session of 2005 and is down more than 10% since the end of January.

Overseas markets were mixed, with London's FTSE 100 recently falling 0.1% to 5790 and Germany's Xetra DAX losing 0.2% to 5743. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 1.9% overnight to 16,185, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7% to 15,420.

Tech names led a stock-market retreat on Monday, with the

Nasdaq Composite

falling 1% due in part to weakness in

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

. The

Dow

and S&P 500 both shed about 0.3% on the session.

Helping restore order Tuesday were bullish expectations ahead of the government's report on January retail sales, which is expected to show a gain of 0.9% after December's 0.7% rise. The redemption of holiday gift cards should drive the strong reading.

Ahead of the report, Citigroup upgraded shares of

Circuit City

(CC) - Get Report

to buy from hold and raised its price target to $30 from $23. The stock closed Monday at $24.33.

Another retail giant,

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

, said last weekend's Northeast snowstorm could lower its results for February. Target estimated same-store sales for the month will rise by 2.5% to 3.5%, down from its previous forecast for 2.5% to 4.5%.

Warner Music

said first-quarter earnings roughly doubled to $69 million, or 46 cents a share, including a charge for stock options. Revenue fell 4% from a year ago to $1.04 billion, slightly missing estimates.

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here

.

Taiwan chip foundry

United Microelectronics

(UMC) - Get Report

said fourth-quarter earnings rose 129% from a year ago to $94.1 million, boosted by strong pricing. Sales fell slightly to about $850 million but came in above estimates.

EchoStar

(DISH) - Get Report

said its president and chief operating officer, Michael Neuman, has stepped down, with his duties being assumed by two other executives. The company didn't give a reason for the resignation.