After last year's runaway gains, stocks have started 2014 with modest losses. U.S. stock futures were pointing higher Tuesday, although the gains were slim and traders are likely to remain cautious before key economic reports due later this week.
The U.S. Census Bureau will release its monthly report on the nation's trade balance at 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday. But the bigger releases are coming Wednesday and Friday, when investors will see the latest monthly jobs report and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting of 2013.
The health of the labor market will likely determine the pace of further reductions in bond buying by the Federal Reserve under new chair Janet Yellen.
Nearly 60% of the 30 investment strategists and money managers surveyed by CNNMoney believe the central bank will continue to gradually cut back on the bond purchases throughout this year so it can completely wind down its quantitative easing program by the end of 2014.