Stock Futures Gain on Bright Earnings Kickoff, Alcoa Edges Higher

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising alongside the international markets, pointing to a fourth session of gains in the S&P 500 Tuesday after aluminum giant Alcoa ( AA) managed to launch an upbeat kickoff to the unofficial start of the second-quarter earnings season with a reaffirmation of its China demand outlook. Investors also continued to cheer Friday's bright hiring data.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 5.25 points, or 6.14 points above fair value, to 1,640.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 33 points, or 40.31 points above fair value, to 15,193. Futures for the Nasdaq were advancing 9.25 points, or 8.82 points above fair value, to 2,968.

"As investors grow more comfortable with the notion that less Fed actually implies inherent strength within the U.S. economy, it seems there is a growing acceptance to a further assault on new highs," Andrew Wilkinson, the New York-based chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak said in a client note.

The S&P 500 gained for a third session Monday heading into the beginning of the earnings season, compounding on advances driven by last week's upbeat nonfarm payrolls report and driving the index to just shy of its all-time closing high of 1,669.16 achieved on May 21. According to Thomson Reuters data, earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to increase 2.9% for the second quarter.

After the market close Monday, Alcoa reported losses in the second-quarter following restructuring costs, yet still managed to beat analysts' expectations. Alcoa reported losses of 11 cents a share, losing $119 million for the quarter. Excluding restructuring and legal fees, the company earned 7 cents a share on $5.85 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 6 cents a share on $5.83 billion in sales.

The company on Monday maintained its estimate that global aluminum demand would persist at a 7% pace this year, spearheaded by China, where Alcoa reiterated its growth improvement outlook of 11%.

Shares were gaining 0.88% to $7.99 in premarket trading.

Harris Teeter Supermarkets ( HTSI) was also a premarket gainer, up 0.89% to $48.95. Kroger is buying the supermarket operator for $49.38 a share in cash, or roughly $2.5 billion, after Harris Teeter revealed at the beginning of the year that it was discussing strategic alternatives for its business.

Satellite radio operator Sirius XM ( SIRI) was popping 2.3% to $3.56 after saying that it's hiking its full-year outlook for subscriber additions to 1.5 million from its previous estimate of 1.4 million, adding that it was able to accumulate 715,000 net new subscribers in the second quarter.

IBM ( IBM), however, was slumping, down 1.4% to $192.25 after Goldman Sachs analysts cut its view on the stock to "neutral" from "buy," citing pressures on the company's growth markets and the intensification of higher-margin revenue streams in the near term.

Tuesday will be a relatively light day on earnings and economic data.

On Friday, JPMorgan ( JPM) and Wells Fargo ( WFC) will lead the kickoff of bank earnings.

Meanwhile investors Tuesday were also awaiting minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's June 18th to 19th meeting scheduled for Wednesday to gather more information on the central bank's stimulus tapering timeline.

The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.79% and the DAX in Germany was tacking on 0.92%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index finished up 0.49%, while the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed higher by 2.58%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 1/32, diluting the yield to 2.636%. The dollar was rising 0.2% to $84.36 according to the U.S. dollar index.

August gold futures were adding $13.90 to $1,248.80 an ounce, while August crude oil futures were dipping 25 cents to $102.89 a barrel.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.>.

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