U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a mixed open on Tuesday, as global markets awaited word from the Federal Reserve on further scaling back of its massive asset-purchasing program and amid a blitz of corporate earnings.
The report is "another sign that consumption is mild at best. Businesses are spending to a very minor degree, and much of that is on IT and some equipment. That bodes back to companies trying to keep productivity at peak levels with a minimum number of people," said Chip Cobb, portfolio manager at BMT Asset Management.
Ford kicked off the day's results by posting fourth quarter earnings of 31 cents per share, outpacing market expectations of 28 cents per share.
The Fed starts its two-day meeting on Tuesday, and will announce any policy changes on Wednesday. It will be the last meeting to be led by outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is expected to announce another $10 billion tapering off of monthly bond purchases.
(CNBC Explains: Tapering)
Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen will be sworn in to replace Bernanke when his term ends on Friday.