Stock Futures Pare Losses After Import Prices Fall

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were trading sideways Tuesday as investors balanced a subdued inflation report against some weak economic numbers overseas and Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia president Charles Plosser's remarks on reducing the central bank's bond buying.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 1.5 points, or 1.78 points above fair value, to 1,632.25.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said early Tuesday that U.S. import prices fell 0.5% in April, as expected by economists, following a 0.2% decrease in March. Lower prices for both fuel and nonfuel imports contributed to the declines each month. Prices for U.S. exports decreased by a more-than-expected 0.7% in April after a 0.5% decline in March. Economists were expecting a fall of 0.5%.

The Mannheim-based ZEW Center for European Economic Research reported Tuesday that its index on German investor sentiment rose to 36.4 in May from 36.3 in April, missing the average economist forecast of 38.3, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Plosser, earlier speaking at the Center for Business and Policy Studies in Stockholm, Sweden, said that the Fed should scale back its bond-buying.

"I believe that labor market conditions warrant scaling back the pace of purchases as soon as our next meeting," said Plosser in prepared remarks. "Moreover, unless we see a significant reversal in current trends that jeopardizes my forecast of near 7% unemployment rate by the end of this year, then I anticipate that we could end the program before year-end."

Sony was jumping 7.73% to $20.35 after saying Tuesday that its entertainment businesses aren't for sale following a proposal from activist investor Daniel Loeb and his hedge fund Third Point that the Japanese electronics giant spin off its entertainment arm.

Take-Two Interactive Software was popping 6.64% to $17.48 in premarket trading Monday after the publisher of Grand Theft Auto posted fiscal fourth-quarter net income on Monday of $22.5 million, or 24 cents a share, a swing from a year-earlier loss of $66.8 million, or 79 cents a share, boosted by strong sales of BioShock Infinite.

The BlackBerry Live conference kicks off Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins's keynote address is expected to include an update on BlackBerry 10 sales volume and momentum, according to All Things D . Shares were rising more than 1% to $16.05 in premarket trading.

Morgan Stanley's annual meeting is Tuesday in Purchase, N.Y., and Chairman and CEO James Gorman is expected to get grilled on the 19% share price decline since he joined the firm in January 2010. Shares were up nearly 1%.

Other reports weighing on sentiment Tuesday morning are Chinese media reports suggesting that the country is poised to reduce its official growth target to 7% from 7.5%.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 1 point, or 5.32 points above fair value, to 15,058. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 0.5 points, or 1.91 points above fair value, to 2,980.5.