US Futures Gain Ahead of Data; Fed Speaker Bullard Says Zero is No Longer 'Appropriate' Interest Rate

U.S. stock futures were higher Tuesday ahead of a slew of data on the housing market, consumer prices and manufacturing while St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said that the Fed’s zero interest rate is no longer appropriate.

Bullard said that even coming up from zero, the Fed’s monetary policy would remain “accommodative.” He was speaking at an event in London.

At 8:30 a.m. E.T., the February consumer price index is expected to have edged up 0.2% from January, when it fell 0.7%. The consensus range is between a 0.1% and a 0.7% gain, according to data compiled by Econoday.

Then at 9:00 a.m., the FHFA house price index for January is expected to have slowed somewhat in January, with a 0.5% increase compared to a 0.8% increase in December. The consensus range is between a gain of 0.3% and 1.7%. At 10:00 a.m., another housing data point is expected to show 462,000 new home sales in February compared to 481,000 in January. The consensus range is between 433,000 and 485,000.

Meanwhile, at 9:45 a.m., the flash Markit PMI manufacturing index for March is expected to have edged down to 54.7 for March compared to the final 55.1 in February.

In equities, Whiting Petroleum ( WLL ) plunged 19% in recent pre-market trade after announcing a stock and notes offering late Monday to repay debt. Communications technology company Sonus Networks ( SONS ) also dropped, by nearly a third, when it came off a trade halt at 8:00 a.m. after cutting its Q1 revenue projections and predicting a loss.

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