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Stock Futures Point to Mild Rebound

Tickers in this article: AZO GM HD JPM M PCLN VVUS ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street Tuesday after stocks declined sharply during the prior session because of political uncertainty in Italy.

Investors were awaiting consumer confidence and housing data Tuesday and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's semi-annual testimony before Congress.

Home Depot (HD) , the biggest home-improvement retailer, posted fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday of 68 cents a share on revenue of $18.2 billion, versus the average analyst estimate of 64 cents a share on revenue of $17.69 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 7% in the quarter.

The company also said that it was increasing its quarterly dividend by 34%.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 29 points, or 54.83 points above fair value, at 13,817. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 3.50 points, or 4.85 points above fair value, at 1490. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 4.75 points, or 6.73 points above fair value, at 2707.

Major U.S. stock averages each fell more than 1% Monday and the VIX fear gauged spiked as investors feared that the latest updates from Italy's elections were portending the risk that the country could backpedal from its austerity programs.

"The week failed to get off to a strong start, as the Dow Jones continued to battle with the round-number 14,000 area," said Joe Bell, senior equity analyst with Schaeffer's Investment Research. "After such a strong rally this year, these round number areas often act as logical levels for investors to take profits."

On the U.S. economic front, the Conference Board's February consumer confidence data is anticipated to indicate an increase to 62 from 58.6. The report is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. EST.

Bell noted that after the January figure plummeted to its lowest level since November 2011, most economists are expecting a bounce back up this time.

Another key economic event Tuesday will be Bernanke's semi-annual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

On the question of to what extent Bernanke will continue to defend quantitative easing, Ted Weisberg, president of Seaport Securities, told TheStreet late Monday that Bernanke doesn't have "any choice. I think ... in spite of the comments from the minutes that we saw ... the Fed is in a box. They have no choice. There is nothing going on economically that will allow him not to continue ..."

In other U.S. economic releases, the Case-Shiller 20-city index for December is expected to show a rise of 6.5% versus a 5.5% increase the prior month. The report is to be issued at 9 a.m.

At 10 a.m., the Census Bureau is expected to report that new-home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 383,000 in January from 369,000 the prior month.