Futures slipped Tuesday following a sharp rally in the previous session and as investors stayed cautious ahead of a key vote in Slovakia to expand the euro zone rescue fund.
The vote in Slovakia, the last of the euro zone’s 17, is part of a process to expand the powers of the European rescue fund or EFSF. All euro members have to approve the amendment, but resistance among certain members of the four-party ruling coalition in Slovakia has grown.
Stocks surged sharply in the previous session, with the Dow logging its best five-day point gain since Dec. 2008, amid optimism that France and Germany's pledge would help resolve the euro zone debt crisis and rescue the region's struggling financials. However, volume was relatively light with trading subdued due to Columbus Day.
Over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to present a solution for the euro zone debt crisis within a two-to-three week period.
“If they (euro zone leaders) don’t come up with something that has some form of a roadmap with credible muscle behind it in that period of time, then people are going to start building into their forecasts what up to now have been possibilities," John Haynes, head of research at Investec told CNBC. "They will become probabilities and the people in the real world, like CEOs, will start to plan against the possibility becoming a probability and will take precautionary measures."
Investors will be focusing on Alcoa, which kicks off third-quarter earnings season after the bell on Tuesday. The Dow component and aluminum producer is expected to post earnings of 22 cents a share, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.