Futures Turn Higher on Tepper Remarks

U.S. stock index futures signaled a slightly higher open on Tuesday, erasing earlier losses after widely followed hedge fund manager David Tepper told CNBC he is "definitely bullish" on stocks.

The head of Appaloosa Management often has been credited with sparking the "Tepper Rally" in September 2010, when he told CNBC then that the Federal Reserve would support equity prices.

He again stated a position that liquidity would guide the markets, whether in the U.S. or other global markets where central banks are easing conditions.

"What's going to make you bearish?" Tepper said. "I think every place is the place to be in the stock markets of the world."

However, any type of a 2013 revival of a "Tepper Rally" seemed unlikely, with the market open indicated just barely higher.

Futures were lower earlier as fears that China's central bank will not provide stimulus to boost its economy saw the Shanghai Composite fall to a one-week low.

The big corporate news of the morning actually was positive, with hedge fund manager Dan Loeb recommending that Sony break up. Loeb's recommendation that Sony break off part of its entertainment business found a warm reception from traders, who sent shares up more than 4 percent in premarket trading.

Global issues, though, dampened the mood.

China could lower its official growth target to 7.0 percent from 7.5 percent in a move that may suggest Beijing is growing more comfortable with a slower pace of growth, according to local media reports.

(Read More: Is China Really Mulling a Lower Growth Forecast?)

Meanwhile, Japan's benchmark Nikkei slipped into negative territory on Tuesday, reversing earlier modest gains as the dollar-yen exchange rate slipped below the 102 handle.

"We continue to expect the yen's slide to continue, based simply on the relative outlooks for Japanese and U.S. monetary policy. The Federal Reserve is likely to scale back its own asset purchases over the next 12 months or so and perhaps halt them completely," said Julian Jessop, chief global economist at Capital Economics, in a research note.

"At least as importantly, we suspect the planned doubling of Japan's monetary base will still not be enough to lift inflation, prompting the Bank of Japan to loosen policy even further. This is the basis of our forecast that the yen could weaken as far as 120 to the dollar again by the end of 2014."

(Read More: Better US Economy Throws Wrench in Currency Markets)

In other corporate news, Apple saw its market share in the smartphone business drop 18.2 percent, according to Gartner, sending shares down a notch premarket.

In economic news, import prices dropped 0.5 percent in March, about inline with consensus forecasts, while export prices dropped 0.7 percent.

Also, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that its sentiment index rose last month, though owners remain cautious.

In the U.S., Tuesday will be relatively quiet for new economic data, with just April's import and export price figures due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Reuters forecast import prices fell by 0.5 percent for the second consecutive month in April, while export prices declines by 0.2 percent, after March's 0.4 percent fall.

Meanwhile, the Fed will purchase $2.75-$3.50 billion of U.S. Treasurys in the bond markets.

Morgan Stanley will also be in focus as it holds its annual meeting at 9 a.m., which could be contentious as shareholders have complained its stock has underperformed.

In addition, Blackberry will host its developers' conference in Orlando, Florida.

So far, 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly results, with 67 percent topping earnings expectations and 24 percent missing forecasts, according to Reuters. If all remaining companies post numbers in line with estimates, earnings will be up 5.3 percent on last year.

However, sales numbers have come in 1 percent below estimates on average, with only 46 percent of companies beating their revenue projections.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato