Employment data, which was scheduled for release on Oct. 4 but was put off until Tuesday due to the government shutdown, will hold the market’s attention along with quarterly earnings announcements.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.05 percent, while those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.03 percent.
“Markets should be very quiet before the U.S. employment data,” Jean-Paul Jeckelmann, chief investment officer at Banque Bonhote & Cie. in Neuchatel, Switzerland, told Bloomberg, adding that investors would focus on earnings.
Employment data, scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT, is expected to show that payrolls rose by 180,000 last month -- the biggest jump since April -- after a 169,000 gain in August, according to a median forecast of 93 economists by Bloomberg.
The median projection from various surveys pegged the unemployment rate to remain steady at 7.3 percent.
Following the release of the jobs data -- delayed by 18 days -- the market is expected to revisit the possibility of the U.S. Federal Reserve tapering its bond buyback stimulus. However, a pullback by the Fed is not expected before December, according to reports.
“If the data suggest that the labor market is improving and the outlook brightening, and if we miraculously end up with a successful budget conference between the House and the Senate, due for December 13th, a modest December taper cannot be ruled,” David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff wrote, in a note to clients, MarketWatch reported.
In quarterly earnings announcements, Tuesday brings out a raft of them including Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL), Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE: KMB), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) and McGraw Hill Financial Inc (NYSE: MHFI) before market hours. Amgen, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN) and Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM) are expected to announce earnings after market hours.
In Europe, stocks stayed flat to weak as investors held back ahead of jobs data from the U.S., and Swedish telecom major Tele2 AB reported a third-quarter loss. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down by 0.03 percent while London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.15 percent. Germany's DAX-30 and France's CAC-40 were both trading down 0.06 percent.
In Asia, markets were generally mixed ahead of the release of U.S. employment data. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.52 percent after index heavyweight China Mobile (HKG:0941) reported a fall in net profits and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.83 percent losing half of Monday’s gains.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended the day up 0.4 percent while South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index was up 0.15 percent while the Nikkei was up 0.13 percent. India’s benchmark BSE Sensex ended down 0.14 percent.