* U.S. Chairman Bernanke to speak at 10:00 a.m. ET
* Italy bonds, European stocks up after Italy bond auction
* Futures: S&P up 2.5 pts, Dow off 1 pt, Nasdaq off 0.25 pt
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were
little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited a second round
of testimony in Congress by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke for signs of whether the Fed will continue its economic
* Economic data was also in focus with U.S. durables goods
and homes data due out at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330) GMT and 10:00 a.m.
ET (1500 GMT), respectively.
* Bernanke is due to make his second appearance before the
Financial Services Committee at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).
* A day earlier, Bernanke strongly defended the Fed's
monetary stimulus efforts before Congress, easing financial
market worries over an early retreat from the Fed's bond buying
program, which had been triggered by minutes of the Fed's
January meeting released a week ago.
* His remarks, along with data showing sales of new homes
hit a 4 1/2-year high, helped U.S. stocks rebound Tuesday from
their worst decline since November.
* Despite the bounce, the S&P 500 was unable to move back
above 1,500, a closely watched level that was technical support
until recently, but could now serve as a resistance point.
* The S&P 500, up 6 percent for the year, was within reach
of all-time highs a week ago before the minutes from the Fed's
January meeting were released. Those minutes raised questions
about the longevity of the Fed's economy-stimulating measures
and since then, the benchmark S&P 500 has fallen 1 percent.
* S&P 500 futures rose 2.5 points and were in line
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 fell 1
points while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.25 point.
* In Europe, Italian debt prices and European stocks briefly
rose after Italy sold the maximum amount of bonds it planned to
offer in a debt auction though borrowing costs soared.
* Italian 10-year yields fell 7 basis points
to 4.83 percent while the Bund future was last 25
ticks up on the day at 145.15 after the sale.
* The euro fell to $1.3098 from a session high of
$1.3123 just before the results of the Italian bond auction were