U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Tuesday as many investors, cautious about global crises, bided their time before the quarter's end.

The S&P 500 index has risen 4.2 percent in the first quarter. While Japan's nuclear power problems and the civil unrest in the Middle East and North Africa continued, many investors chose not to risk their gains. The trading volume in Monday's session was the lowest of the year.

We're in a wait-and-see game as we finish up the quarter, which has been fairly strong, said Jeffrey Friedman, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago. Some people are taking their cues from the volume, which shows that a lot of people prefer to stay on the sidelines.

In one sign of the spillover from overseas events, oilfield-services company Halliburton Co late Monday said its quarterly earnings were hurt in part by turmoil in oil-producing regions. The stock slid 1.2 percent to $47.34 in premarket trading.

Dow component Home Depot Inc late Monday said it would buy back $1 billion of outstanding shares through an accelerated program. Shares rose 1.3 percent to $37.12 in before the bell.

U.S. single-family home prices fell for the seventh straight month in January, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas. However, the drop was not as much as expected, and stock futures showed little impact.

S&P 500 futures rose 3.2 points but were even with fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 31 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1.75 points.

Lennar Corp rose 2.1 percent to $19.34 before the bell after the homebuilder swung to profit in the first quarter. McCormick & Co reported a first-quarter profit that beat expectations.

On the downside, Apollo Group fell 9.8 percent to $38.20 in premarket trading after the education company said new enrollment fell 45 percent in second quarter.

Wal-Mart Stores will urge the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject a case brought on behalf of female employees who allege the retailer gave women less pay and fewer promotions in the largest, class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit ever. Shares of the Dow component were 0.4 percent lower in light premarket trading.

On Monday, U.S. stocks fell, with consumer shares hurt after hotel operator Marriott International gave a disappointing forecast on an important financial measure.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)