U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply lower open Tuesday, continuing a late-summer slump for the major indexes, as investors took no encouragement from a pickup in merger activity.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now fallen for three straight sessions and eight of the past ten trading days, with the other major averages not faring much better.
European shares were lower across the board with energy and oil-related stocks sinking. Asian shares also slipped with the Nikkei 225 ending below 9,000 points.
On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors will issue its latest existing home sales figures at 10 am New York time. Economists are predicting July will show an annual sales rate of 4.6 million, which would be a 14.3 percent drop from June levels. That compares to a 5.1 percent drop from May to June.
Home builder stocks were likely to come under pressure as the market anticipates a weak report. Standard & Poor's on Monday downgraded the group's outlook from neutral to negative. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF was off nearly 1 percent in light premarket trading.
There will be a small number of earnings reports including Medtronic, Big Lots and Burger King Holdings. Also in earnings news, WPP Groupraised its earnings outlook for the year after posting growth in earnings and revenue in the first seven months.