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Futures point to a slightly higher open as investors assess oil prices, Fed speeches

  • Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan are both set to deliver respective speeches
  • Barracuda Networks is set to report earnings following Tuesday's market close

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open Tuesday, as investors geared up for new comments set to come out of the U.S. central bank, while keeping an eye on political developments.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 32 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 3.5 points and 9.5 points, respectively.

Following the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest nonfarm payrolls report—which revealed last Friday that the U.S. saw a loss of 33,000 jobs during September—investors will be paying close attention as to what leading members of the U.S. central bank will say on Tuesday.

In the morning, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is set to speak at the Regional Economic Conditions conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Traders stand outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Traders stand outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.

Later on in the day, investors will turn their attention to Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who will be in California, where he is expected to participate in a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research associates meeting.

The Fed will also be of key importance when it comes to U.S. politics. In the final week of September, President Donald Trump stated that the person who would lead the U.S. central bank from 2018 would be announced in the coming weeks.

Elsewhere, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is expected to sign a proposed rule on Tuesday, in order to begin the rolling back of the Clean Power Plan.

In earnings news, Barracuda Networks is set to report its latest financial figures. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury is set to auction four separate bills on Tuesday.

In other company news, Nvidia unveiled a new computer system that will help cars become fully autonomous. The company is also allowing some to access a virtual reality design platform. Nvidia's stock rose 4.4 percent in the premarket, and was the biggest riser in the S&P 500.

Wal-Mart shares also rose before the bell, after the retail giant announced a $20 billion buyback program. The company also reiterated its fiscal 2018 earnings guidance.

Meanwhile, Honeywell unveiled a corporate makeover on Tuesday that ties its growth more strongly to aerospace technology — the opposite of what activist investor Third Point Capital has urged since April.

The results of the manufacturer's portfolio review announced before U.S. markets opened said it would spin off its home and ADI global distribution business and transportation systems into two independent, publicly-traded companies by the end of 2018.

The company said the two businesses together generated annualized revenue of $7.5 billion.

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On the commodities front, oil prices traded in the black during early trade, with investors digesting the latest comments from a leading oil cartel.

On Monday, OPEC's Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo told Reuters that there was "clear evidence" that the oil market was showing signs of rebalancing. At 7:27 a.m. ET, U.S. crude traded around $50.22 per barrel, while Brent hovered around $56.31.

Overseas, European stocks were trading relatively flat in early market trade, while markets in Asia closed on a mostly higher note.

In the previous session, U.S. stocks finished lower with Nasdaq having snapped its nine-day winning streak.

—CNBC's Fred Imbert and Reuters contributed to this report.