US futures mixed ahead of housing data

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures are mixed Wednesday after a rocky start to the week, with the latest housing report expected to show previously occupied home sales are reaching a clip not seen in two years.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 7 points to 13,115 and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose 0.2 points to 1,400.2. But Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 1.25 points to 2,734.25.

Stocks closed lower Tuesday for only the second time in two weeks as China hinted at a slowdown.

European markets rallied early after a similar sell-off Tuesday as worries fade about the debt crisis, at least for now.

In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 7,065 while the CAC-40 in France was 0.3 percent higher at 3,542. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.1 percent at 5,897 ahead of the government's annual budget.

Asian markets, however, remain unsettled by the latest signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy.

The Nikkei 225 index in Japan, which counts China as its most important trading partner, fell 0.6 percent to 10,086.49, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.2 percent to 20,856.63. China's main Shanghai index recovered 0.1 percent to close to 2,378.20, having dropped sharply in the previous session.

U.S. traders appeared more optimistic 30 minutes before the opening bell and ahead of the latest housing data, which is expected a half hour after the market opens.

There has been some good news in each of the housing reports released during the first two days of the week, and more of the same is expected Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors releases its report on February home re-sales, and economists expect that sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million last month, according to a FactSet survey.

Shares of homebuilders rose in premarket trading. Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. rose 4 percent to $2.89. Lennar Corp., PulteGroup Inc., and KB Home rose as well.

The tech sector may get a boost after Oracle Corp. reported late Tuesday that sales of new software licenses accelerated in the third quarter, suggesting that the broader economy is healing. Oracle shares were up 2 percent at $30.70 in premarket trading.