Futures on major US stock indices point to a higher opening Tuesday as investors closely watch the start of US corporate earnings.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index are up 0.23 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.21 percent, and Nasdaq 100 futures are up 0.27 percent.

The market focus will likely shift to the US earning reports this week, with Alcoa, the first of the Dow components, is slated to report quarterly earnings after the market closes on Tuesday.

Alcoa earnings are important because the aluminum company is seen as a bellwether for the global economy and unofficially kicks off each US earnings season. Analysts are expecting a first quarter net loss of $0.04 per share compared to net profit of $0.28 per share in the same quarter last year.

However, the earnings season is expected to be sluggish and could witness markets struggling to maintain gains made since the beginning of the year. A clearer picture of the strength of the market will emerge on Thursday with Google's results, about which analysts have been increasingly bearish.

On Wednesday, US stocks plunged as disappointing March employment report raised concerns about the strength of recovery in the world’s biggest economy.

Asian stock markets ended mixed Tuesday. Hong Kong Hang’s Seng plunged 1.15 percent, South Korea's Seoul Composite declined 0.13 percent and Japanese Nikkei edged down 0.09 percent, while Chinese Shanghai Composite gained 0.88 percent after showed that China returned to an export-led trade surplus in March.

China’s trade position swung to $5.4 billion surplus in March compared to $31.5 billion deficit in February and much better than the expected deficit of $3.2 billion.

Exports surged 8.9 percent to $165.66 billion for the month, but it was less than February's gain of 18.4 percent. Imports increased 5.3 percent for March, which was much lower than 39.6 percent growth witnessed in February.