Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 were little changed at 0950 GMT.

At 1245 GMT, ICSC/Goldman Sachs release chain store sales for the week ended February 27 versus the prior week. In the previous week, sales were up 2.3 percent.

Redbook releases at 1355 GMT its Retail Sales Index of department and chain store sales for February versus January. In the prior period, sales rose 1.6 percent.

U.S. automakers release February sales. Economists in a Reuters survey expect median annualized sales of 3.7 million cars and 4.2 million trucks. In January, the figures were 3.8 million cars and 4.18 million trucks.

Shares of chipmaker Qualcomm Inc , a technology bellwether, rose 2.1 percent to $36.29 after the bell on Monday after the company announced a new $3 billion share buyback plan and raised its quarterly dividend by 12 percent.

Top U.S. and Chinese diplomats will grapple with how to deal with the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea in meetings that Washington hopes will help ease tensions with Beijing.

Shares of bond insurer MBIA Inc rose 4.8 percent to $5.03 after the bell on Monday following the company's quarterly results.

At 2200 GMT, ABC News releases its consumer comfort index for the week ended February 28 versus the prior week. In the previous week, the index read -50.

Astellas Pharma Inc <4503.T> shares fell 2.1 percent on Tuesday after it went hostile with a $3.5 billion bid for U.S.-based OSI Pharmaceuticals and its prized Tarceva cancer drug, highlighting concerns over the Japanese firm's drug pipeline and whether it would get into a bidding war against other possible suitors.

AutoZone, the largest U.S. auto-parts retail chain, is expected to post a rise in earnings to $2.34 per share from $2.03 in the February quarter of 2009. Office supplies seller Staples is also due to announce results.

Japan's government called for fresh action on Tuesday from the central bank to lift the economy out of deflation this year despite widespread skepticism that such a goal is feasible.

Australia's central bank raised its cash rate by 25 basis points to 4.0 percent on Tuesday and flagged further hikes ahead, saying a surprisingly strong recovery allowed it to move policy toward more normal settings.

General Motors said it will triple its funding of European arm Opel and cut its request for state aid, in a bid to win over European governments and labor.

Oil was steady below $79 a barrel as the dollar stiffened on European sovereign risk woes and forecasts for rising U.S. crude and gasoline inventories capped prices.

European shares were flat in early trade, with falls in drugmakers offsetting gains in mining stocks.

Japan's Nikkei average rose 0.5 percent on Tuesday, buoyed by gains in chip-linked stocks such as Advantest <6857.T> after a bullish outlook from flash memory maker SanDisk Corp pushed up shares of their U.S. peers.

U.S. stocks rose for a second straight day on Monday, boosted by AIG's record-setting deal to sell a major Asian unit and on gains in semiconductor shares after SanDisk Corp raised its revenue forecast.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 78.53 points, or 0.76 percent, to 10,403.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 11.22 points, or 1.02 percent, to 1,115.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 35.31 points, or 1.58 percent, to 2,273.57.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Mike Nesbit)