Futures on major US indices point to a higher opening Tuesday ahead of the quarterly earnings from top investment bank Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and key housing data due to be released before market opens.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.55 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.42 percent and Nasdaq-100 futures are up 0.43 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on Commerce Department's data on March housing starts and building permits, which is due to be released before the opening bell. Economists are forecasting that housing starts will edge higher to 705,000 units in March from 698,000 in the previous month, while building permits are expected to edge lower to 710,000 units in March compared to 715,000 in the previous month.

The housing sector continues to move sideways with activity at a fairly low level with March housing starts near a 700K rate. The excess supply of homes for sale on the market damps new building. However, permits have been rising and the Beige Book reported more signs of life in the multi-family sector, a note from Credit Agricole said.

Meanwhile, industrial production data is expected to expand 0.3 percent in March based on a gain in factory payrolls but a decline in average hours worked in the manufacturing sector.

On the earnings front, a string of companies including Goldman Sachs, Harley-Davidson Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola will report their quarterly earnings before the opening bell, while International Business Machines Corp, Intel Corp and Yahoo Inc. will release quarterly earnings after the markets close.

Goldman Sachs (GS) is expected to report first quarter net profit of $3.55 per share compared to $1.56 per share in the same period a year-ago.

Intel Corp. (INTC) is projected to report first-quarter net profit of $0.50 per share on revenue of $12.83 billion, compared with $0.56 per share on revenue of $12.85 billion in the year-ago period.

European stock markets extended gains after German investor sentiment remained buoyant in April. The ZEW survey economic sentiment rose to 23.4 from 22.3 in March, against expectations for a decline to 19.0. Markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 48.26 points, DAX30 up by 81.14 points and CAC 40 up by 46.33 points.