The S&P 500 and Dow index futures rose slightly on Tuesday, but gains were capped after disappointing results from Hewlett-Packard.
The Nasdaq index futures turned negative after the tech company reported a negative outlook, sending its shares down 4.4 percent in premarket trading to $39.07.
HP's rival, computer maker Dell
Investors will now be closely looking at other big names like Dell to see if this (the weak results) is a trend (in the industry) or if this is just isolated to certain companies, said Sal Arnuk, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Home Depot Inc
The results came the day after Home Depot's smaller rival, Lowe's Cos
Such retailers have found it harder to sell to homeowners in an uneven U.S. economy. Many shoppers have stayed away from expensive renovations amid falling housing prices.
Housing starts data is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), with economists predicting a rise to around 568,000 in April compared with 549,000 a month earlier.
Other data set for release includes April's industrial output figures at 9:15 a.m (1315 GMT).
S&P 500 futures rose 0.4 point and were about even with fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 5 points while Nasdaq 100 futures fell 1.5 point.
The Nasdaq <.IXIC> fell on Monday as investors worried about the U.S. economic outlook. The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> and the S&P 500 <.SPX> were also off after a regional report on manufacturing added to worries about the outlook.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating Bank of America Corp
Mining equipment maker Joy Global
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)