Futures trimmed some of their losses Tuesday after U.S. industrial production rose slightly in July, but were still lower following news that German GDP growth slowed more than expected.
U.S. industrial output gained 0.9 percent in July at its fastest pace in seven months, helped by robust auto production. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5 percent increase in July output.
Also on the economic front, housing starts fell less than expected in Julyto 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 604,000 units, according to the Commerce Department. Still, the figure is half the 1.2 million homes per year that economists say must be built to sustain a healthy housing market.
Economists had forecast housing starts to slow to a 600,000-unit rate, according to a Reuters poll.
Meanwhile, U.S. import prices increased to 0.3 percent in July, according to the Department of Labor. Economists had expected import prices to fall 0.1 percent, according to a Reuters poll.
Euro zone growth for the second quarter slowedto 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter, below forecasts for growth of 0.3 percent and at the slowest pace since 2009, figures released on Tuesday showed. A much weaker than expected GDP figure for Germany in particular weighed on European markets in mid-morning trade.
Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are slated to meet in Paris to discuss what further measures they can take to contain the European debt crisis.