Bloomberg

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Oct. 15: 

1. -- Stock Futures Rise as Wall Street Readies for Earnings Season

U.S. stock futures rose Tuesday as investors prepped for a two-day wave of bank earnings that could define the third-quarter reporting season and pared risk positions amid lingering questions over the fate of trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

A lack of detail in what Donald Trump called the "phase one" portion of the current U.S.-China trade talks, which concluded Friday in Washington, as well as reports suggesting Chinese officials want more time to negotiate terms of a final settlement next month, clipped gains on Wall Street Monday. 

Risk appetite was further eroded by stalled Brexit talks in Europe, where officials are growing increasingly skeptical that an exit agreement can be reached prior to this week's leaders' summit in Brussels, and the threat of U.S. sanctions on Turkey following its military incursion into northern Syria.

Much of the market's focus Tuesday, however, will center on the unofficial start to the U.S. earnings season on Wall Street.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 86 points, futures for the S&P 500 were up 8.75 points, and Nasdaq futures gained 24.50 points.

Stocks finished lower Monday after Chinese officials said they wanted to discuss further last week's tentative trade agreement between the world's two largest economies. 

The Dow declined 29 points, or 0.11%, to 26,787, the S&P 500 slipped 0.14%, and the Nasdaq dropped 0.1%. 

2. -- Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UnitedHealth, Goldman Sachs, J&J to Report Earnings

UnitedHealth (UNH - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Tuesday and boosted its full-year profit forecast as Optum revenue continues to pace top-line growth for the biggest U.S. healthcare insurance company.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report)  earned $2.68 a share in the third quarter, beating Wall Street estimates of $2.45.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report)  posted third-quarter earnings that topped estimates and boosted its full-year sales and profit guidance as pharmaceutical revenues surprised to the upside.

Earnings reports are also expected Tuesday from Citigroup (C - Get Report) ,  Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) , Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) , United Airlines Holdings (UAL - Get Report) and Charles Schwab (SCHW - Get Report) .

Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UnitedHealth, Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

The economic calendar Tuesday is light but Federal Reserve officials James Bullard, Raphael Bostic, Esther George and Mary Daly have speaking engagements. 

3. -- Walmart Introduces Program to Lower Third-Party Prices

Walmart (WMT - Get Report) has introduced a program to temporarily lower the prices for some items on its marketplace site, where third-party vendors pay
the retailer a fee to list their goods. The merchants selling on the site, however, will still be paid the same amount that was listed before the cuts, with Walmart subsidizing the difference, Bloomberg reported, citing a description of the plan it obtained that was confirmed by a Walmart spokeswoman.

The move from the world's largest retailer, Bloomberg noted, appears to be a response to a program Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) rolled out over the summer in which the online giant has full control to set prices of third-party products sold on its marketplace - in return for a minimum payout. 

Walmart's new strategy, dubbed the Competitive Price Adjustment program, will be applied to "selected sellers and selected items only," according to the description. Sellers cannot request to be included, Bloomberg reported

"It's a no-brainer," Juozas Kaziukenas, founder of data tracker Marketplace Pulse, told Bloomberg. "They give up some revenue, but it buys them sales instead."

Amazon is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells AMZN? Learn more now.

4. -- UAW Plans Thursday Meeting for Update on GM Talks

The United Auto Workers union, which represents the 48,000 workers who have been striking General Motors (GM - Get Report)  since Sept. 16, have scheduled a meeting on Thursday to update unions from around the country on the status of the talks, several people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

The sides haven't reached a tentative agreement that would end the strike, but progress has been made and the UAW leadership will give an update on Thursday, the people told Reuters. The meeting will take place in the Detroit building where GM is based, the people said.

"It's time to have a conversation one way or the other," one person told Reuters.

UAW and GM representatives said talks are scheduled again for Tuesday but declined further comment.

The striking auto workers at GM are seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of profit and protection of healthcare benefits.

5. -- Reata Soars on Positive Results From Trial of Neuromuscular Disorder Drug

Reata Pharmaceuticals (RETA - Get Report)  soared after the biopharmaceutical company reported positive drug-trial results for its omaveloxolone treatment for patients suffering from Fredreich's ataxia, a rare genetic disease that causes difficulty walking, a loss of sensation in the arms and legs and impaired speech.

The company said it would begin to seek marketing approval for the drug. No treatments for the disease are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Reata said.

"We are hopeful that our community will finally have its first approved therapy that can slow this relentlessly progressive disease," said Ronald Bartek, president of the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance.

The disease affects about 22,000 people worldwide, the company said.

Reata shares jumped 34.23% in after-hours trading Monday to $135.02.