* Further upside seen as limited after recent gains
* Trading volume expected to be light in holiday week
* Investors looking to data on consumer confidence
* Futures down: Dow 40 pts, S&P 6.25 pts, Nasdaq 10 pts (Adds CaseShiller data)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday, suggesting the market’s recent trend of modest moves and low volume would continue in the next-to-last trading day of the year.
Equities have been trending to the upside recently, buoyed by strong economic data and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s commitment to be “patient” about raising interest rates. After the S&P 500 gained nearly 6 percent over the prior eight sessions, it notched its 53rd record close of the year on Monday, while the Dow just missed extending its streak of positive sessions to eight.
The speed and scale of the rally could push traders to take profits, and volatility could be amplified with many market participants out for the holiday, which will depress volume. The stock market will be closed on Thursday for the New Year‘s.
U.S. single-family home price appreciation slowed less than forecast in October, as there were hints of some re-acceleration in home prices in some cities by year-end, according to the S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas.
NeuroDerm Ltd was one of the most actively traded Nasdaq stocks, surging 31 percent to $8.10 before the bell after it said data from a mid-stage study suggested that a higher dose of its Parkinson’s drug could provide an alternative to treatments that require surgery.
Crude oil fell 0.6 percent, building on losses of about 2 percent in each of the three previous sessions. While the decline is viewed as positive for consumers, it has sharply pressured the energy sector.
Civeo Corp, which provides temporary housing for oilfield workers and miners, said late Monday it slashed its workforce and forecast revenue could fall by one-third as slumping crude prices force oil producers to cut costs. Shares plunged 40 percent to $4.99 in heavy premarket trading.
For the month, the Dow is up 1.2 percent, the S&P is up 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq is up 0.3 percent. For the fourth quarter, the Dow has gained 5.8 percent, the S&P has added 6 percent and the Nasdaq has jumped 7 percent.
Both the S&P and Nasdaq were on track for their eighth straight quarterly gain, the longest for the S&P since 1998 and the longest for the Nasdaq since 1996.
For 2014, the S&P is up 13 percent and the Nasdaq is up 15 percent, on track for their third straight annual gain. The Dow is up 8.8 percent and aiming for its sixth straight positive year. Utilities are the strongest sector of the year, up almost 30 percent, while the energy sector is the weakest, down 8.7 percent.
Futures snapshot at 9:03:
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 6.25 points, or 0.3 percent, with 86,388 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10 points, or 0.23 percent, in volume of 13,715 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 40 points, or 0.22 percent, with 13,226 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Nick Zieminski)