US Markets

Futures in positive territory ahead of manufacturing report

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Tuesday, looking to add to gains from the previous session, with the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing survey for March in focus.

Investors will look to data on the manufacturing sector for an indication of the economy's health after lackluster data earlier in the year was attributed to a harsh winter. The final Markit manufacturing PMI for March is due at 9:45 am ET and the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing reading for March is due at 10 am ET.

ISM is expected to show a reading of 54 versus the prior 53.2. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. The prior Markit reading came in at 55.5.

In addition, construction spending data for February is due at 10 am ET. Expectations call for a flat reading versus the prior gain of 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, General Motors will be in the hot seat in Washington on Tuesday, where CEO Mary Barra will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about GM ignition troubles.

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Also in the corporate space, Apollo Group will publish quarterly numbers early during the day.

Markets remain focused on the monthly jobs report, due on Friday, which is viewed as a key indicator in determining how rapidly the Federal Reserve quits its bond-buying program.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave stocks a boost on Monday when she said the central bank would stay accommodative for some time. Her dovish comments countered an earlier statement to the effect that the Fed could raise interest rates within six months of ending its asset-buying program.

"The market has pushed up the timing of the first rate hike from August to May of 2015, and the Fed is clearly pushing back against that," said John Briggs, head of cross-asset strategy at RBS.

"If you get strong data, that divergence could widen, and if it's weak data, the market is more likely to listen to the Fed's dovish overtone."