U.S. equity futures are relatively stable this morning as stocks in Japan rebounded 5.7% after crashing 10.6% Monday. Uncertainty remains key and is pushing safe haven assets modestly higher.

"The nuclear situation remains in flux, with workers evacuating the plant at one point overnight due to high radiation levels, before later returning," said BMO Capital Markets.

Nomura Securities adds: "Another fire broke out early this morning at the Fukushima #4 reactor, but after 30 minutes it was no longer visible. There have been rolling blackouts in the Kanto area."

S&P 500 futures are 2.3 points lower at 1,273 and Dow futures are down 9 points at 11,780. In the first two days this week, the Dow lost 189 points, or 1.57%.

Light crude oil rose 1.45% to $98.58 per barrel, while gold prices increased 0.49% to $1,399.40

The US$ index is trading slightly higher, while 2-year Treasury yields are flat at 0.60% and the benchmark 10-year yield is one basis point firmer at 3.30%.

Trading activity among Treasuries was reportedly the highest since June yesterday.

Just in, the MBA said mortgage applications fell 0.7% in the week ending March 11. Refinancings posted a 0.9% gain to its highest level since December 2010, but purchase declined 4% and are 15.5% lower than one year ago. The drop in refinances took place despite the average contract rate for 30-year mortgage falling to 4.79% from 4.93%. The average fixed-rate on a 15-year loan also fell to 4.03% from 4.17%.

Key Events Today:

8:30 - Housing Starts are forecast to take a fall in February after a sharp 14.6% jump upwards to start the year. Economists polled by Reuters look for the annualized pace of housing construction projects to fall to 560k from 596k a month before, reflecting some correction to the earlier volatility. January starts rose solely because of a 78% gain in multi-family units, while single-family units - a more closely-watched component - slipped 1%. 

"Big spikes in housing starts are usually followed by corrections in the following month," note economists at IHS Global Insight. "Overall we project that housing starts dropped around 3% to a 580,000 annual rate in February. We expect permits to make small but steady improvements over the course of the year as job growth picks up. For February, we project that housing permits increased around 2% to a 574,000 annual rate."

8:30 - Expect the Producer Price Index to rise 0.7% in February, economists say. The headline is expected to jump on rising energy prices, the same culprit that pushed the index up 0.8% one month before (gas prices, for instance, were hiked 6.9%). The core index, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, is anticipated to rise 0.2% after a 0.5% uptick in January. Annually, headline prices were up 3.6% while core prices were 1.6%.

"Producers have been getting squeezed by higher energy costs since October," said economists at BTMU, who noted that headline wholesale prices rose an average +0.7% each month between October and January. 

"The usual culprits are at play in February, where we believe food prices rose +2.3% and energy prices rose +1.2%," they added. "Strip out those two components and core wholesale inflation is expected to be flat."

10:15 - The Federal Reserve will purchase an estimated $5.5 to 7.5 billion in Treasury securities maturing between 3/31/2015 and 8/31/2016