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Dow futures fall 100 points after weak China trade data

Trucks arrive with containers to be loaded on to a ship at the Qingdao port, in northeastern China's Shandong province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
Trucks arrive with containers to be loaded on to a ship at the Qingdao port, in northeastern China's Shandong province.

U.S. stock index futures ticked lower on Tuesday, following European and Asian shares downwards, after weak trade data added to concerns about slowing growth in China.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were off more than 100 points, while futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also indicated a lower open.

China's dollar-denominated exports fell 3.7 percent in September from a year earlier, while imports plunged 20.4 percent to chalk up their eleventh consecutive month of decline, official data showed on Tuesday.

"Chinese exports were better-than-expected and imports were slightly worse, but both continued to decline in year-on-year terms," IG's market analyst, Angus Nicholson, said in a report on Tuesday.

"It was basically a fairly mixed report, but with last week's impressive rally starting to look stretched, mixed Chinese data was taken as bad Chinese data."

In the U.S., traders will await quarterly earnings from Dow Jones industrial average components Intel and JP Morgan Chase after the bell.

Earlier in the day, fellow Dow component, Johnson & Johnson, reported earnings that beat but missed on revenue. Separately, the firm announced a $10 billion share repurchase. Shares traded mildly lower in pre-market trade.

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S&P 500-listed corporations are expected to post a 5.3 percent decline in third quarter 2015 earnings growth, the first third-quarter decline in six years, according to consensus data from S&P Capital IQ. However, excluding the energy sector drag of a sharp negative 65.6 percent, S&P 500 earnings growth would be 2.7 percent.

On Tuesday, James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said in a Dow Jones report that the Fed has effectively met its goals on the labor market and inflation, signaling it's time to start raising rates.

Bullard will become a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee in January.

The remarks come after comments from various Fed members over the past couple of days, with the centrist Dennis Lockhart reiterating the case for an interest rate lift-off this year, while Lael Brainard called for no change given downside risks.

The day will also bring the a Democrat Presidential debate in the evening.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency reported Tuesday that global oil demand growth would slow in 2016, to 1.2 million barrels per day from 1.8 million in 2015. Brent and WTI crude prices were a touch higher on Tuesday.

— By CNBC's Katy Barnato, with contribution from See Kit Tang.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when the Treasury's monthly budget statement was due. It is scheduled for release Thursday.