U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to higher open on Wall Street on Tuesday, after Alcoa slashed its dividend and issued a plan to raise cash, and ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy-setting meeting.
European shares fell in early trade on Tuesday, snapping a five-day winning streak, with banks and mining shares trimming recent lofty gains <.EU>, while Asian stocks gained ground overnight, with the Nikkei average <.N225> rising 3.2 percent <.T>.
On the macro front, investors were bracing for U.S. data on housing starts in February, as well U.S. monthly price producer data. The focus will also be on a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting starting later in the day.
The Fed, which has slashed interest rates to revive the economy, has considered the purchase of long-dated government debt as an additional measure, but a number of policymakers have sounded skeptical about the idea and few Fed watchers expect such a move this week.
The two-day policy-setting meeting will conclude with a statement around 4:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.
In corporate news, Walt Disney Co.
U.S. stocks fell on Monday after American Express Co
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> shed 7.01 points, or 0.10 percent, to 7,216.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> declined 2.66 points, or 0.35 percent, to 753.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 27.48 points, or 1.92 percent, to 1,404.02.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Simon Jessop)