(REUTERS) -- Stock index futures edged up on Tuesday as S&P 500 futures found support near their 50-day moving average following four days of losses on the benchmark index.

Trade data from China reinforced the view the world's second-largest economy will avoid a hard landing, giving investors some respite after a string of losses in equity markets.

Dow component Alcoa Inc., a bellwether for the industrial sector, kick-starts the quarterly earnings season after the closing bell.

Economic data on Tuesday include wholesale inventories for February, due at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.5 percent rise versus a gain of 0.4 percent in January.

S&P 500 futures rose 1.9 points and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 44 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.5 points.

European markets were catching up with global equity losses after being closed Friday and Monday, with stocks down 1 percent.

China returned to an export-led trade surplus of $5.35 billion in March, suggesting that a rebound in the global economy is lifting overseas orders just in time to compensate for a slowdown in domestic demand.

A Reuters poll on Monday showed most major Wall Street firms expect anemic growth in the U.S. jobs market and a struggling economic recovery to force the Federal Reserve to undertake another round of monetary stimulus.

Recent losses in the U.S. stock market were sparked by minutes from the Fed's March policy meeting that were interpreted as showing the central bank was less than keen to launch more stimulus.

U.S.-traded shares of Sony Corp. dropped 8 percent to $18.50 in light premarket trading after the company forecast a record $6.4 billion net loss for the business year just ended.

The Dow and the S&P 500 extended losses to a fourth day on Monday, as investors took their cues from last week's disappointing jobs report, which raised fresh concerns about the U.S. economic recovery.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)