* NAHB homebuilder index on tap
* AMD shares drop as CFO to leave
* FedEx falls on results, outlook
* Futures down: Dow 12 pts, S&P 1.7 pts, Nasdaq 2.5 pts
By Edward Krudy
New York, Sept 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures
retreated for a second day on Tuesday, suggesting stocks would
continue to ease from multi-year highs as investors looked to
upcoming economic data to help extend the central bank stimulus
U.S. stocks have rallied 7 percent since early August,
propelling the S&P 500 index to the highest in nearly five years
on central bank stimulus in Europe and the United States. But
analysts say that for the rally to continue economic data needs
"If we don't start seeing stronger U.S. economic data or we
don't start seeing strong policy measures out of the Chinese,
then I think we're going be due for a correction," said Jack de
Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in
Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
De Gan said if the economic data does not improve, he would
look for a correction in the S&P 500 back towards the index's
50-day moving average, which is about 5 percent below current
"There are reasons to believe these weak data in the U.S.
could bottom shortly and begin to improve but it hasn't happened
yet," he said. "The longer we go, the more stretched this little
rally will be."
The NAHB Housing Market Index at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) is
expected to be little changed in September after unexpectedly
gaining in the previous two months. However, at 37 on the index
sentiment remains well below the 50s to 70s seen in the 1990s
FedEx Corp cut its profit forecast for its fiscal
year 2013 on Tuesday, saying that a weakening world economy had
prompted customers to shift toward lower-priced shipping. The
shares fell 1.4 percent to $88.05. Earlier this month FedEx
warned the slowing economy was hurting its results.
S&P 500 futures fell 1.7 points and were below 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 12
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.50 points.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc shares fell 6.2 percent
in premarket trade. The firm said Chief Financial Officer Thomas
Seifert was leaving the struggling personal computer chipmaker
to pursue other opportunities.
Weakness in commodity markets looked set to weigh on related
stocks. Copper fell for a second day after a rally triggered
last week by the U.S. Federal Reserve's new stimulus efforts ran
out of steam and investors booked profits. Shares in Freeport
McMoRan Copper & Gold fell 1 percent on light volume.
"The market may already have 'prepaid' for the QE3 easing
announcement," said Goldman Sachs in a research note. "For the
equity market moves to extend, an improvement in the macro data
will now need to show up."
European shares and the euro fell on Tuesday as investors
turned their attention from central bank stimulus to slowing
global growth and uncertainty about Spain's desire for an
international aid package.
Dole Food Company Inc will sell two businesses to
Itochu Corp for $1.7 billion in cash - a deal that will
help the world's largest fruit and vegetable producer pay down
its heavy debt load while expanding Itochu's food presence in
new markets such as China. Dole's shares jumped 9.5 percent in
Time Warner Cable Inc has put a process in motion to
sell its stake in wireless service provider Clearwire Corp
, according to a regulatory filing.
European car sales fell 8.5 percent in August for an 11th
straight monthly decline, led by Ford, General Motors
and Fiat and mid-market brands bore the brunt of
the slump in markets including Italy, France and Germany.