Futures on major US stock indices point to a slightly lower opening Tuesday as investors awaited the report on factory orders and minutes of the latest Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.18 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.19 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are down 0.11 percent.

The U.S. Commerce Department will release February factory orders at 10:00 a.m. EST. Orders are expected to rise 1.5 percent month-on-month in February after a 1 percent fall in January.

Investors are likely to focus on to the release of the FOMC minutes from its March 13 meeting for further insight into the internal debate on the need for continued accommodation or additional measures.

The FOMC minutes will be read in the context of the Chairman Bernanke's recent comments, which highlighted some of the headwinds facing the US economic recovery; cautioned against any premature firming of monetary policy and would not rule out further policy accommodation if needed, a note from Credit Agricole said.

On the corporate front, automakers' shares will be in focus ahead of March sales data due out for release. Economists surveyed by Reuters expect median annualized sales of 5.62 million cars and 5.80 million trucks. In February, sales were 5.846 million cars and 5.854 million trucks.

US stocks rallied to a multiyear high on Monday following report of the US manufacturing sector expanding at a faster speed than the forecast for March.

European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 8.71 points and CAC 40 down by 16.39 points, while DAX30 down by 0.48 points.

Most Asian stock markets ended with gains overnight as better-than-expected readings on US manufacturing and China's services industries data lifted sentiment, while stronger yen hurt Japanese shares.