Futures Climb as Alcoa Beats Estimates

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures pointed to a stronger open Tuesday the morning after earnings season got off to a good start with better-than-expected results from Alcoa ( AA), and as Japan's pledge to help the eurozone lifted sentiment.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 46 points, or 51 points above fair value, at 11,633. Futures for the S&P 500 were higher by 5 points, or nearly 5 points above fair value, at 1271, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 9 points, or 8 points above fair value.

Stocks were mixed Monday as concerns about the European Union's ability to contain its debt crisis returned to the forefront.

Late Monday, Alcoa reported better-than-expected earnings of 21 cents a share on sales of $5.65 billion. Analysts had been calling for a profit of 20 cents on sales of $5.68 billion. Shares, however, were trading 0.8% lower at $16.36 ahead of Tuesday's opening bell.

On Tuesday, Japan said it would buy debt issued by the European Financial Stability Facility, helping to ease eurozone contagion fears.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4% while Japan's Nikkei shed 0.3%. London's FTSE was gaining 1.3% and the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 0.6%.

Earnings continue with supermarket operator Supervalu ( SVU) slated to report before the opening bell. According to Briefing.com, analysts expect Supervalu to report per-share earnings of 32 cents. During the premarket trading session, shares were trading up by 0.1% at $8.60.
 Groceries

In other earnings news, homebuilder Lennar ( LEN) said per-share earnings fell to 17 cents a share from 19 cents a share a year ago and sales dropped 6% to $860.1 million . Analysts had been projecting a profit of 3 cents a share on sales of $759.8 million.

Shares of Sears Holdings ( SHLD) were down 1.9% to $69.25 in early trading after the parent company of Kmart and Sears said fourth-quarter same-store sales were down 1.1% to date. The retailer also said it expects earnings for the fourth-quarter ending Jan. 29 of $3.39 to $4.12 a share compared with the profit of $3.09 that analysts were projecting.

Simon Property ( SPG) dropped its bid of 2.9 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) bid for U.K. mall owner Capital Shopping Centres. Simon's stock was up 0.2% to $97.72 in early trading.

At 10 a.m. EST, the Department of Commerce is expected to report an increase of 1% in November wholesale inventories, according to Briefing.com. That compares with growth of 1.9% in October.

In commodity markets, the February crude oil contract was trading 19 cents higher at $89.44 a barrel. The February gold contract was up by $8.30 to trade at $1,382.40 an ounce.

The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.01%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 3/32, lifting the yield to 3.299%.

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--Written by Melinda Peer in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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