Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a steady open on Tuesday, as fourth quarter earnings season was set to begin later in the day, while U.S. fiscal worries remained.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.08% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.05% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.05% rise.
Investors remained focused after tepid U.S. nonfarm payrolls data last week dampened speculation that the Federal Reserve may end its easing program sooner than had been expected after the minutes from the Fed's December meeting showed that some policymakers considered ending the bank's quantitative easing program before the end of the year.
Markets were also jittery amid concerns about continuing political wrangling in Washington over further budget cuts and raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
Alcoa was likely to be in focus, as the aluminum producer was set to kick off earnings season later in the day.
Tech stocks were also expected to be active, after Samsung Electronics said it likely earned a quarterly profit of USD8.3 billion as it sold close to 500 handsets a minute and as demand picked up for the flat screens it makes for mobile devices, including those for rival Apple products.
Among retailers, Sears Holdings was slated to move after saying late Monday that Chief Executive Louis D'Ambrosio will step down for family health reasons after the U.S. company reported a 1.8% decline in quarter-to-date sales at stores open at least a year.
Elsewhere, Yum Brands plunged 5.14% in pre-market trade after the owner of the Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains said that quarterly same-store revenue in China fell 6%, compared with its previous forecast of a 4 percent decline.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.45%, France's CAC 40 advanced 0.67%, Germany's DAX rose 0.29%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.26%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 0.94% lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.86%.
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