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

The U.S. stock index futures point to a lower open Tuesday as investors preferred to maintain caution ahead of the beginning of the earnings season.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.17 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.33 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.32 percent.

On Monday, the U.S. stocks fell as investors remained watchful with the concerns that the corporate earnings would be affected by the sluggish global economic growth.

The earnings season, which starts with Alcoa Inc reporting fourth quarter results Tuesday, is expected to be weak and could witness the markets struggling to maintain the gains made. The earning figures do have an important impact on the price movements in the market, with the stock moving in direct correlation to the earnings.

There are concerns among the market participants about the U.S. fiscal and monetary policies. “On the one hand, the bears are worried that U.S. lawmakers will struggle, between now and end-February, to agree on budget spending cuts to lift the federal debt ceiling. Essentially, last week's fiscal deal on increasing taxes on America's wealthiest has only ameliorated and not erased fears of a double-dip recession. On the other hand, the bulls are, ironically, worried that Fed may end its ultra-loose monetary policy sooner than later on the back of improving U.S. data.,” DBS Bank Ltd said in a note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.38 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.31 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.09 percent. The overall market breadth of NYSE was negative with 1363 advances against 1629 declines. Nasdaq witnessed 1439 declines against 1066 advances.

Asian stocks fell Tuesday as investors remained careful waiting for the companies in the U.S. to announce their quarterly results to give more clarity on the economic growth. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Composite declined 188.11 points, Japan’s Nikkei fell 90.95 points and India’s Sensex dropped 32.64 points.

European stocks fell Tuesday following the global cues. London's FTSE 100 was down 4.38 points, Germany's DAX 30 fell 23.21 points and France's CAC 40 dropped 1.75 points.