(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat opening on the Wall Street ahead of a report on manufacturing activity in the world's largest economy.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures added 11 points to 13,090. The Nasdaq futures dipped 1.50 points to 2,769.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures edged 0.40 points lower to 1,404.70.
On the economic front, the results of the manufacturing survey of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and the Commerce Department's construction spending for July are due at 10 am ET. Economists expect the ISM's factory index to inch to 50.2 percent from 49.8 percent in July.
Other closely watched data to be released through the week include: the ADP private sector employment report, weekly jobless claims data, non-farm payrolls and unemployment rate.
In European news, the European Central Bank policy meeting is due on Thursday with investors expecting details of a new bond-buying plan to protect the euro. Meanwhile, Moody's rating agency lowered European Union's long-term issuer rating outlook and a data showed U.K.'s construction sector contracted unexpectedly in August.
On Friday, U.S. stocks ended in green as investors reacted positively to a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who reiterated that the central bank remains ready to act "as needed" to spur growth. Major U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Labor Day.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: CPB, SFD, MRX, NVS, CLF, PSS
In corporate news, Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE:CPB) posted stronger-than-forecast quarterly results on strong soup sales and the company issued earnings forecast for 2013 above consensus, sending its shares 6.77 percent higher in premarket trading on Tuesday.
Smithfield Foods Inc. (NYSE:SFD) lost 2.80 percent in premarket after the company posted quarterly earnings and sales that missed Wall Street projections amid drop in operating margins as weak domestic retail demand hit the meat processor's fresh pork business.
Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. (NYSE:MRX) jumped 37.67 percent in premarket after Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (TSE:VRX) agreed to buy the U.S.-based company for $2.6 billion or $44.00 per share in cash. The deal represents a premium of 39 percent Medicis' previous closing price.
Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) may be in focus after the U.S. health regulators cleared a higher dose of the company's Exelon patch for patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease.
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) agreed to a short-term extension of its labor contract with the United Steelworkers (USW) since both parties have not reached a new agreement.
Collective Brands Inc. (NYSE:PSS) posted a quarterly profit helped by strong performance of the Performance + Lifestyle Group and the same store sales growth.
Finisar (NASDAQ:FNSR) and Pep Boys (NYSE:PBY) are scheduled to post their quarterly numbers after the markets close.
European markets traded in red, with Germany's DAX down 0.34 percent to trade at 6,990.83. France's CAC40 fell 0.54 percent to trade at 3,434.92. U.K.'s FTSE 100 retreated 0.89 percent to trade at 5,707.11.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dropped 0.75 percent to finish at 2,043.65. Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.10 percent to end at 8,775.51. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.66 percent to end at 19,429.91. India's BSE Sensex closed at 17,440.87, up 0.32 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures gained 0.51 percent to $96.96 per barrel. Gold futures added 0.53 percent to $1,696.6 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro dipped 0.21 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2567, and the British pound shed 0.08 percent to 1.5874. The dollar rose 0.18 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.4000.