Before the bell: Stock futures higher as earnings mostly top estimates

U.S. stock futures edged higher Tuesday morning, indicating stocks are poised for a mildly positive open. This comes a day after U.S. markets set new 2009 highs and following solid results from Apple and Texas Instruments late Monday.

Tuesday, investors will watch for a flood of earnings from such heavyweights as Coca-Cola, Pfizer and DuPont. In addition, some economic releases are scheduled for this morning, including inflation and housing data.

Apple (AAPL) late Monday reported sales and profit that trounced estimates, sending its shares to all-time highs. Texas Instruments (TXN) shares, too, rose after the chip maker posted better-than-forecast earnings guidance.

Caterpillar (CAT), DuPont (DD), Coca-Cola (KO), Pfizer (PFE) and United Technologies (UTX) are among the companies scheduled to report earnings this morning, with some already delivering generally better-than-expected results. DuPont's profit rose, topping estimates, Pfizer also reported higher earnings despite lower sales and beat analysts' projections, while United Tech profit fell. Yahoo (YHOO) is one of the companies reporting after the close.

Two main economic releases are due out today:

  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern, September housing starts and building permits will be reported, with both expected to show a continued positive trend with higher permits and starts than previous reports.
  • At the same time, September producer price index will be released. Inflation at the wholesale level is expected to remain flat, while economists expect core PPI, which excludes the often volatile food and energy prices, to have risen 0.1 percent, according to
Overseas, most Asian stock markets climbed Tuesday thanks mostly to better-than-expected earnings reports from major U.S. companies. Despite the confidence this earnings season has so far encouraged among investors as hopes for a more robust economic recovery mount, European markets were lower.
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