Stock Futures Little Changed as Market Awaits Fed Comments

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Tuesday, after the S&P 500 eased from its record high during the prior session as investors suspected the Federal Reserve will slow its quantitative easing after officials hinted at the possibility because of a better economic outlook.

"Any hint that the Fed is about to take away the punchbowl could trigger a sharp sell-off in equity markets," Julian Jessop, chief global economist for Capital Economics in London, wrote in a note. "After all, it is surely no coincidence that U.S. equity market volatility spiked shortly after the ends of both QE1 and QE2."

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.25 points, or 0.36 points above fair value, to 1,664.25.

Carnival was plunging 6.34% to $33.08 in premarket trading after the cruise line operator slashed its full-year earnings guidance to $1.45 to $1.65 a share, below the average analyst estimate of $1.98. The company is trying to lure in customers with cheaper prices as it continues to suffer the effects of high-profile incidents at its cruise ships.

Yahoo! was rising 1.2% to $26.90 after announcing Monday the complete upgrade of its popular Flickr photo sharing service , and the leasing of new space for a Yahoo! New York office.

Amazon's cloud business, Amazon Web Services, has been given key U.S. government security compliance, enabling it to bolster business in government agency contracts.

Home Depot was popping 3.5% to $79.42 after the home-improvement retailer booked first-quarter earnings that beat expectations by 6 cents at 83 cents a share, as revenue also topped forecasts. The company hiked its full-year earnings and sales outlook, driven by an improving housing market.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 11 points, or 20.72 points above fair value, to 15,330. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 0.5 points, or 1.93 points above fair value, to 3,021.5.

Ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony Wednesday before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and New York Fed President William Dudley will be speaking Tuesday. Investors will be listening carefully for clues on whether Bernanke will hint at a retreat from ultra-accommodative policy during his testimony Wednesday.

At 11:30 a.m. EDT, Bullard gives his speech on monetary policy in a low-rate environment in Frankfurt.

At 1 p.m., Dudley speaks on lessons operating monetary policy at the zero bound to the Japan Society in New York.

No major U.S. economic releases are expected Tuesday.

June gold futures were falling $4.30 to $1,379.80 an ounce. July oil futures were off 25 cents to $96.68 a barrel.

The DAX in Germany was down 0.45%. The FTSE 100 in the UK was up 0.03%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 0.13%. The Bank of Japan wraps up its two-day meeting Wednesday.