Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.2 to 0.3 percent at 1006 GMT (5:06 a.m. EST), pointing to a weaker start on Wall Street on Tuesday.

The Federal Reserve starts its two-day meet on Tuesday and is expected to keep rates unchanged near zero, leaving the focus on the accompanying statement, especially after upbeat sales and jobs data led markets to price in the chances of a rate hike in the middle of 2010.

Kraft Foods said it will maintain discipline in its pursuit of British chocolatier Cadbury , suggesting the U.S. group will resist calls to raise its offer.

Britain will announce plans on Tuesday to buy more than 20 Chinook transport helicopters over the next decade but will cut spending in other areas to balance a stretched defense budget, media reports said. The Chinook is a twin-rotor, heavy-lift helicopter made by Boeing .

At 1245 GMT ICSC/Goldman Sachs release chain store sales for the week ended Dec 12 versus the prior week. In the previous week, sales fell 1.3 percent.

New York Federal Reserve releases at 1330 GMT its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for December. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 24.00 compared with 23.51 in November.

At 1330 GMT, Labor Dept releases the November Producer Price Index. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.8 percent increase compared with a 0.3 percent rise in October. Excluding volatile food and energy items, PPI is seen up 0.2 percent compared with a 0.6 percent drop in the prior month.

Boeing Co is set to make the first test flight of its 787 Dreamliner on Tuesday, almost two and a half years after the new, fuel-efficient plane, which is key to the company's future, was supposed to leave the ground.

Redbook releases at 1355 GMT its Retail Sales Index of department and chain store sales for December versus November.

The Federal Reserve releases industrial production and capacity utilization data for November at 1415 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.5 percent increase in production compared with a 0.1 percent rise in October.

Investors will also keep an eye on National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo's December housing market index, due at 1800 GMT. ABC News releases at 2200 GMT its consumer comfort index for the week ended December 13 versus the prior week.

Repayment of a $4.1 billion Islamic bond issued by troubled Dubai developer Nakheel is on the way, with the funds now distributed to the clearing system after being sent to the principal paying agent, Nakheel said on Tuesday.

Starlims Technologies Ltd's shares surged 41.6 percent in extended trade on Monday after the company agreed to be acquired by Abbott Laboratories for about $123 million.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is in final discussions with Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal about buying a stake in broadcaster Rotana Media, a Rotana executive said on Tuesday.

European stocks turned negative in morning trade, halting a three-session winning run as banking shares slipped while investors awaited key U.S. macro data.

U.S. stocks closed at 14-month highs on Monday as Abu Dhabi's $10 billion in aid to help Dubai eased concerns over the emirate's debt problems and a takeover deal by Exxon Mobil Corp raised optimism about mergers and acquisitions activity.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 29.55 points, or 0.28 percent, to end at 10,501.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 7.70 points, or 0.70 percent, to 1,114.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> climbed 21.79 points, or 0.99 percent, to close at 2,212.10.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Greg Mahlich)