U.S. stock index futures little changed; Fed eyed

* U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Tuesday,
with futures for the S&P 500 (SPc2: ) flat, Dow Jones (DJc2: )
futures down 0.03 percent and Nasdaq 100 (NDc2: ) futures up 0.11
percent at 0930 GMT.

* All eyes will be on the Federal Reserve on Tuesday,
expected to leave interest rates unchanged and assess the recent
launch of a massive bond-buying programme to support the
economy.

* Also, Fed officials will likely be revising their economic
outlook to reflect stronger growth after the White House and
congressional Republicans agreed to extend tax breaks and
provide a payroll tax cut, effectively delivering fresh fiscal
stimulus. [ID:nN13201941]

* Oil prices eased on Tuesday, as investors continued to
watch for new monetary policy announcements by China to tame
high inflation, and ahead of U.S. oil industry stocks data.

* The dollar hovered near its low for December against the
euro on Tuesday, although the single currency could struggle to
extend its gains much after its jump on Monday triggered a wave
of stop-loss buying and forced some traders to lighten their
euro short/dollar long positions ahead of the Fed’s policy
meeting later on Tuesday.

* European stocks slipped in morning trade, halting a sharp
two-week rally and retreating from two-year highs as investors
booked a portion of recent hefty gains made by cyclical stocks.
However, gains in defensive telecoms, utilities and healthcare
stocks — which have underperformed the broad market this year
— helped limit the fall.

* The European Central Bank is considering requesting an
increase in its capital to help cope with the rising costs of
fighting the euro zone debt crisis, euro zone central bank
sources told Reuters. [ID:nLDE6BC1GS]

* HCP Inc (HCP.N: ) said on Monday it would buy most of the
real estate assets of privately held nursing and assisted living
firm HCR ManorCare Inc from Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] in a $6.1
billion sale and leaseback deal.

* Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O: ) plans to lay off more than 600
employees as early as Tuesday, two sources familiar with the
situation said on Monday.

* Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: ) named board member George Lorch as non
executive chairman, a week after the abrupt departure of
Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Kindler from the world’s
largest drugmaker.

* Economic indicators on tap for Tuesday include November
producer price data, November retail sales data and October
business inventory data. Best Buy Co (BBY.N: ) is the only S&P 500
company scheduled to report quarterly results on Tuesday.

* The Nasdaq closed lower to end eight straight days of
gains on Monday as some large-cap tech stocks slid in a late-day
sell-off. The Dow cut its gains and the S&P 500 ended a thinly
traded session flat as optimism faded over China’s move to tame
its growth, and as some technical indicators suggested a
near-term pullback could be in the cards.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 18.24
points, or 0.16 percent, to end at 11,428.56, well off its
intraday high of 11,480.03. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: ) inched up a mere 0.06 of a point, or 0.00 percent, to
finish at 1,240.46. But the Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) fell
12.63 points, or 0.48 percent, to close at 2,624.91.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

U.S. stock index futures little changed; Fed eyed