(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on the Wall Street ahead of a factory orders report, which may provide another hint about the prospects of the world's largest economy.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures fell 1.00 point to 12,775.00. The Nasdaq Futures edged 4.50 points higher to 2,618.75. Standard and Poor's 500 futures added 0.60 points to 1,358.20.
On Monday, U.S. stocks ended the first trading day of the third quarter on a mixed note after a data showed manufacturing activity in the world's largest economy unexpectedly contracted for the first time since 2009.
On the US economic front, the Commerce Department is due to release its factory goods orders data for May at 10 am ET. Economists estimate a 0.2 percent rise in orders following a 0.6 percent drop in the prior month.
Meanwhile, automakers including Ford (F), General Motors (GM) are due to release their U.S. sales results for June. Economists expect sales to increase to 13.90 million from 13.73 million in May.
The U.S. markets will be shut for Independence Day holiday on Wednesday, while key jobs reports are due on Thursday and Friday.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: MSFT, BCS, FRX, MODL, MW
In corporate news, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) said it is taking a $6.2 billion writedown related to its 2007 acquisition of Internet- advertising company AQuantive Inc. MSFT shares edged lower in premarket.
Barclays Plc (NYSE:BCS) may be in focus after Chief Executive Bob Diamond resigned with immediate effect on Tuesday amid a market rigging probe.
Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE:FRX) may be in spotlight after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he intends to probe stock sales by the company CEO Howard Solomon over the years.
MModal Inc. (NASDAQ:MODL) jumped 8.35 percent in premarket after the provider of cloud-based clinical documentation services agreed to be sold to private-investment unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) for $14 per share or around $1.1 billion.
Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) announced the departure of its finance chief Neill Davis effective, August 2. Executive Vice President Diana Wilson will succeed Davis as interim chief financial officer.
European markets rose, with Germany's DAX up 0.61 percent to trade at 6,535.66. France's CAC40 gained 0.32 percent to trade at 3,250.45. U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.25 percent to trade at 5,654.60.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index rose 0.14 percent to close at 2,229.12. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.70 percent to end at 9,066.59. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.51 percent to end at 19,735.53. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,425.71, down 0.18 percent.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures rose 0.62 percent to $84.270 per barrel. Gold futures advanced 0.71 percent to $1,609.1 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro traded 0.10 percent lower against the U.S. dollar at 1.2564, and the British pound lost 0.10 percent against the greenback to 1.5675. The dollar rose 0.34 percent against the Japanese yen at 79.7900.