U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Tuesday as investors paused for breath after a recent rally and digested weaker-than-expected trade data from China.
Dow futures held about 70 points lower after earlier falling more than 100 points. U.S. crude oil futures turned lower, below $38 a barrel, as of 9:18 a.m. ET.
U.S. stocks closed mixed Monday, steadying after their first three-week rally of the year so far, as gains in energy stocks offset declines in technology. However, sentiment looked to have turned by Tuesday morning with Asian and European indexes posting losses ahead of the U.S. open.
China's trade data overnight showed February exports falling 25.4 percent in U.S. dollar terms, while imports fell 13.8 percent, with both declines wider than expectations. The drop in exports was the largest on-year drop since 2009, according to Reuters.
China shares eked out gains Tuesday but most Asian markets retraced some of their recent rally, while European mining stocks — with their heavy exposure to the world's second largest economy — were hit hard.
Back in the U.S., there are no major earnings releases but the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) released its business optimism index, which fell last month amid sales growth concerns and hurting profits due to capital spending and hiring plans.