US STOCKS-Futures point to slightly higher open, volume low

 * Trading volume low as positive quarter nears end
 * Halliburton down after outlook, Home Depot rallies
 * Case-Shiller shows home prices fell for seventh month
 * Futures up: Dow 31 pts, S&P 3.2 pts, Nasdaq 1.75 pts
 * For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
 (Updates with Case-Shiller data in sixth paragraph)
 By Ryan Vlastelica
 NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures
pointed to a slightly higher open on Tuesday as many investors,
cautious about global crises, bided their time before the
quarter's end.
 The S&P 500 index has risen 4.2 percent in the first
quarter. While Japan's nuclear power problems and the civil
unrest in the Middle East and North Africa continued, many
investors chose not to risk their gains. The trading volume in
Monday's session was the lowest of the year.
 "We're in a wait-and-see game as we finish up the quarter,
which has been fairly strong," said Jeffrey Friedman, senior
market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago. "Some people are
taking their cues from the volume, which shows that a lot of
people prefer to stay on the sidelines."
 In one sign of the spillover from overseas events,
oilfield-services company Halliburton Co (HAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) late Monday
said its quarterly earnings were hurt in part by turmoil in
oil-producing regions. The stock slid 1.2 percent to $47.34 in
premarket trading. For details, see [ID:nN2852973]
 Dow component Home Depot Inc (HD.N: Quote, Profile, Research) late Monday said it
would buy back $1 billion of outstanding shares through an
accelerated program. Shares rose 1.3 percent to $37.12 in
before the bell. [ID:nN28219743]
 U.S. single-family home prices fell for the seventh
straight month in January, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller
composite index of 20 metropolitan areas. However, the drop was
not as much as expected, and stock futures showed little
impact. [ID:nDZE7DS003]
 S&P 500 futures (SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 3.2 points but were even with
fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into
account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures (DJc1: Quote, Profile, Research) added 31
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1.75 points.
 Lennar Corp (LEN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 2.1 percent to $19.34 before the
bell after the homebuilder swung to profit in the first
quarter. McCormick & Co (MKC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reported a first-quarter profit
that beat expectations. [ID:nN29249040] [ID:nL3E7ET1SX]
 On the downside, Apollo Group (APOL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 9.8 percent to
$38.20 in premarket trading after the education company said
new enrollment fell 45 percent in second quarter.
[ID:nL3E7ET1XW] [ID:nL3E7ET1V1]
 Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) will urge the U.S. Supreme Court on
Tuesday to reject a case brought on behalf of female employees
who allege the retailer gave women less pay and fewer
promotions in the largest, class-action sex-discrimination
lawsuit ever. Shares of the Dow component were 0.4 percent
lower in light premarket trading. [ID:nN28284791]
 On Monday, U.S. stocks fell, with consumer shares hurt
after hotel operator Marriott International (MAR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) gave a
disappointing forecast on an important financial measure.
 (Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Futures point to slightly higher open, volume low