U.S. stock index futures point to a slightly lower open on Tuesday ahead of the publication of trade deficit report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.05 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.04 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.12 percent.

Investors are expected to focus on the trade deficit report for the month of April to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the trade deficit, which measures the difference in value between the imported and exported goods and services over the reported period, to widen to $41 billion in April from $38.8 billion in the prior month.

“The 3.3 percent drop in March imports is expected to be partially reversed in April. Exports likely expanded as well after a decline in March. The April report will contain revisions that may affect data from January 1999 through March 2013 for both exports and imports,” a note from Credit Agricole said.

Meanwhile, market participants opted for caution ahead of key economic events including central bank meetings in Europe and the monthly U.S. payroll data scheduled to be released later this week.

European stocks advanced in early trading on Tuesday as soft readings on U.S. manufacturing and construction spending slightly eased concerns that the Federal Reserve will reduce its monthly $85 billion bond-buying program. London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.48 percent, Germany's DAX-30 gained 0.57 percent and France's CAC-40 advanced 0.61 percent.

Data released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management, or ISM, showed that factory activity in the world’s largest economy unexpectedly contracted in May. The manufacturing index declined to 49 in May from 50.7 in April and also missed Reuters' forecast for a reading of 49.7.

"Perversely weaker data is leading to less fears of Fed tapering [bond-buying program], which in turn is boosting equity markets. Surely, equities should fall as data comes in weak but clearly that is not the case. In any case we do not believe the contraction in the ISM presages a new phase of economic weakness," a note from Credit Agricole said.

Asian stock markets were mostly advanced on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei surged 2.05 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.01 percent and India’s BSE Sensex was up 0.32 percent in late afternoon trade while China’s Shanghai Composite plunged 1.17 percent on economic slowdown concerns.