Stocks set to open higher ahead of earnings season

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U.S. stock markets are poised to open higher ahead of the start to the third quarter earnings season. Investors are also continuing to digest last week's worse-than-expected jobs report, which heightened fears of unemployment topping 10 percent before the end of the year.

Stocks in Europe were little changed while Asian markets mostly fell. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index all were indicated higher in pre-market trading. Oil prices continue to hover around $70 a barrel as investors await clues from earnings season as to the direction of the market. Traders dumped the dollar after the Group of Seven finance ministers omitted any mention of the currency's weakness in their final communique, according to Bloomberg News.

Alcoa Inc. (AA), the aluminum maker, reports earnings Wednesday. Its report, one of the first of any major company, is seen as a bellwether for earnings season. Shares of the Pittsburgh-based company, along with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) , the word's largest software maker, were up in Europe this mornng. Expectations for the third quarter are high given the revenue improvements seen by many companies. Investors will also pay close attention to the outlooks for the year that many companies will issue along with their quarterly results.

Reuters argues that improvements in revenue are needed to sustain the 60 percent gain seen in the S&P 500 Index since its March lows. Also, expectations for the fourth quarter holiday season reman low. Forecasts are calling for it to be the second softest in 40 years, though an improvement over last year.

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