U.S. stock index futures point to a slightly higher open on Tuesday as investors await economic data, including Chicago PMI and another round of quarterly earnings reports by major corporations.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.09 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.08 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.14 percent.
On the economic front, the S&P/CaseShiller house price index for February will be released before the market opens on Tuesday. The index, which measures the change in the selling price of single-family homes in 20 metropolitan areas, is expected to show that house prices increased at an annual rate of 9 percent in February after gaining 8.1 percent in the previous month.
The Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) and the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index for the month of April will be released after the opening bell. Economists predict that consumer confidence index may increase to 60.8 in April from 59.7 in the previous month, while the Chicago PMI is likely to remain unchanged at 52.5 in April after a reading of 52.4 in March.
Meanwhile, data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Monday reiterated that the U.S. economy slowed in the spring as U.S. consumer spending rose by a 0.2 percent or $22.6 billion in March, compared with the 0.7 percent gain in February. U.S. personal income rose 0.2 percent or $30.9 billion in March.
Also, investors are likely to continue to focus on earnings reports on Tuesday, with Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ), Edison International (NYSE: EIX), Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC), McGraw-Hill Cos Inc. (NYSE: MHP), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X), among others, expected to announce their quarterly results on Tuesday.
U.S. stock markets ended on a positive note on Monday as sentiment was buoyed following better-than-expected pending home sales data and news that Italy formed a new government over the weekend after a two-month political impasse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.72 percent, the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.72 percent to close at a record high of 1,593.61, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.85 percent.
Data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Monday showed that the pending home sales index, which measures the change in the number of homes under contract to be sold but still awaiting the closing transaction, excluding new construction, increased 1.5 percent to 105.7 in March from 104.1 in February and was up 7 percent compared to 98.8 in March 2012.
European stock markets were trading higher on Tuesday with Germany's DAX30 up 1.08 percent, France's CAC 40 gaining 0.29 percent and London's FTSE 100 advancing 0.35 percent.
Asian stock markets mostly advanced on Tuesday on expectations of pro-growth monetary policies from global central banks. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.64 percent, India’s BSE Sensex advanced 0.13 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite surged 1.20 percent, while Japan's Nikkei declined 0.17 percent, weighed down by weak industrial production and retail sales data.
Data released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan’s industrial production, which measures the total inflation-adjusted value of output from manufacturers, mines and utilities, grew 0.2 percent in March compared with the previous month, but it fell short of analysts’ forecast of a 0.4 percent gain.