Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange REUTERS

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Tuesday ahead of the Bureau of Economic Analysis' announcement of current account balance data for the third quarter.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.24 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.33 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.49 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on the current account balance for the third quarter, to be published Tuesday. The current account balance, which measures the difference in value between exported and imported goods, services and interest payments, is expected to narrow to -$103.4 billion in the third quarter from -$117.4 billion in the second quarter.

Market players are expected to stay optimistic in the U.S., as news of Democrats and Republicans advancing in their talks to prevent a scheduled increase in tax rates and spending cuts resulting from the so-called fiscal cliff trickled in.

The U.S. stocks rose Monday as investor confidence turned positive amid reports that Congressional leaders are inching closer to finalize a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Meanwhile, according to data released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, NY Empire State Manufacturing Index, which rates the relative level of the general business conditions in New York state, showed a reading of -8.1 in December, compared to -5.2 in November.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.76 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 1.19 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.32 percent.

European markets rose Tuesday as the Italian Senate will vote on the 2013 budget against the background of ongoing uncertainty over Prime Minister Mario Monti’s political future. Monti had said earlier this month that he will resign after the budget is passed. London's FTSE 100 was up 12.95 points, Germany's DAX 30 index rose 28.32 points and France's CAC 40 gained 12.27 points.

Asian stocks rose Tuesday, tracking the U.S. markets overnight. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India Tuesday, kept its repo rate, which is the rate at which banks borrow money from the central bank, unchanged at 8 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite marginally gained 2.12 points, Japan’s Nikkei rose 94.13 points and India’s Sensex was up 112.32 points.