Premarket trading of gold and silver mining companies were mixed Tuesday in a tight range as stock index futures pointed to a lower open and commodities like crude oil and copper fell.

Futures for the S&P 500, for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and for the Nasdaq composite index 100 were down 0.6 to 1.0 percent.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices fell 1.3 percent and copper was down 1 percent.

Barrick Gold Corp., Kinross Gold Corp. and Goldcorp Inc. were trading modestly higher in premarket action, while Yamana Gold Inc., Newmont Mining Corp. and AngloGold Ashanti Litd. drifted lower.

Silver Wheaton Corp., Silvercorp Metals Inc., Endeavour Silver Corp. and Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. eased in premarket trading while Pan American Silver Corp. rose.

Three key economic reports scheduled for release shortly before the opening bell kept traders cautious.

The Commerce Department releases housing starts and permits for July at 8:30 am Eastern time. Economists forecast a fall to a 600,000 annualized rate from 629,000 in June, and a total of 605,000 permits in July compared with 617,000 in the prior month.

At 8:30 am, the Labor Department releases import-export prices for July. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.1 percent drop in import prices and a 0.1 percent rise in export prices. In the prior month, import prices fell 0.5 percent and export prices rose 0.1 percent.

At 9:15 am the Federal Reserve releases industrial production and capacity utilization data for July. Economists expect a 0.5 percent rise in production and a reading of 76.9 percent for capacity utilization. In the previous report production rose 0.2 percent and capacity utilization was 76.7 percent.