Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 share indexes were up 0.3-0.5 percent on Tuesday morning, pointing to a higher start on Wall Street.

European shares are almost flat in choppy trade, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.01 percent at 837.32 points at 5:07 a.m. EDT, as gains in drugmakers offset losses in the mining sector.

The Federal Open Market Committee begins a two-day meeting on interest-rate policy and there is anticipation in the bond markets that the government may extend $300 billion of already announced purchases of its own debt to help support the market while it borrows heavily to fund its recovery plans.

Moody's Investors Service said that the U.S. government's triple-A credit rating was safe but added that it could be at risk if Washington were unable to bring its public debt back on a downward trajectory.

Another possible threat to the rating could come from any severe challenge to the dollar as the main international reserve currency, said Pierre Cailleteau, team managing director of Moody's Sovereign Risk Group.

The Kroger Co. is reporting first-quarter earnings with analysts forecasting the company will report an earnings per share estimate of 61 cents compared to 58 cents a year ago.

Jabil Circuit is reporting third-quarter earnings, with analysts forecasting the company will report an earnings per share estimate of 2 cents compared to 26 cents the previous year.

Oracle is reporting fourth-quarter earnings estimates with analysts forecasting that the company will report an earnings per share estimate of 44 cents compared to 47 cents a year ago.

At 7:45 a.m. EDT is the release of the ICSC/Goldman Sachs chain store sales for the week ended June 20 versus the prior week. In the previous week, sales fell 0.6 percent.

Redbook releases its Retail Sales Index of department and chain store sales for June versus May at 8:55 a.m. EDT. In the prior period, sales fell 4.5 percent.

At 10 a.m. EDT the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for May. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 4.81 million annualised unit total versus 4.68 million annualised units in April.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond releases June indexes on area manufacturing and service sectors at 10 a.m. EDT. In May, the composite manufacturing index read 4, the shipments index read 9, and the services revenue index was -29.

Shares in Apple Inc rose 0.4 percent to $137.95 on Monday after the bell on reports that the chief executive of the iPhone maker, Steve Jobs, reported for work, amid continuing concerns for his health.

Shares in Actuant Corp fell 6.9 percent to $13.51 on Monday after the company announced a public offering of 9 million shares of its class A common stock.

At least three small, cash-strapped banks have stopped paying the U.S. government dividends that they owe because they got $315.4 million in capital infusions under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Ford Motor Co is launching a revamped Taurus this summer, a big bet by Chief Executive Alan Mulally that he can revive an ailing model that once defined the American family sedan, reported the Wall Street Journal.

On Monday, U.S. stocks suffered their worst one-day loss in two months, dropping the S&P 500 back into negative territory for the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 2.35 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down, 3.06 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 3.35 percent.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; editing by Mike Nesbit)