Stock Futures Stutter on Mixed Earnings, Higher Inflation

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were trading sideways Tuesday as investors digested a mix of earnings from blue chip companies amid signs of an uptick in inflation ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's scheduled appearance on Wednesday before a congressional committee.

Bernanke is slated to speak before the House Financial Services Committee in his semi-annual monetary policy report. Although his speech at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. last week indicated continued easy monetary policy for some time to come, there remains the concern that tougher stances on policy might arise at the hearing matching views presented at the most recent gathering of the central bank's policymaking Federal Open Market Committee.

Futures for the S&P 500 were unchanged, or 0.55 points above fair value, to 1,677.5. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 1 point, or 3.74 points above fair value, to 15,417. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 2.75 points, or 2.55 points above fair value, to 3,075.75.

The latest inflation report was doing little to dampen views that the Fed could announce a reduction in asset purchases in September. The consumer price index rose by a greater than expected 0.5% in June after rising 0.1% in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists, on average, were expecting an increase of 0.3% in June, according to Thomson Reuters. Excluding food and energy costs, core prices advanced 0.2%, as expected, after rising by 0.2% in May.

Industrial production growth came in at greater-than-expected 0.3% in June after being unchanged in May, according to the Federal Reserve. Economists were expecting growth of 0.2% June capacity utilization was 77.8% versus the average economist expectation of 77.7% following May's upwardly-revised 77.7%.

Goldman Sachs ( GS) shares were gaining 0.8% to $164.40 after the bank reported better-than-expected earnings buoyed by record debt underwriting revenue and strong year-over-year growth across its trading, investment banking and private equity businesses.

Coca-Cola Company ( KO) was slipping 2.5% to $39.97 after the soda giant reported in line second-quarter earnings per share of 63 cents and worse than expected revenue of $12.75 billion vs. the consensus target of $12.95 billion, as soda volumes weakened. The company attributed softer results on difficult weather and economic conditions.

Diversified healthcare company Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) was adding 0.66% to $91 after beating second-quarter earnings estimates, driven by robust prescription drug and medical device sales, which overshadowed weak consumer products growth. Adjusted earnings came in at $1.48 a share on revenue of $17.88 billion vs. the average analyst estimate of $1.39 a share in earnings on revenue of $17.71 billion.

Yahoo! ( YHOO), the Internet company, reports earnings after the closing bell Tuesday and analysts expect second-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share. Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the arrival of Marissa Mayer as CEO at Yahoo! The stock has risen more than 70% since she took over the top spot. Shares were down 0.15% to $27.30.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Home Builders reports on its July housing market index, which is forecast to come in at 52, unchanged from June.

At 2:15 p.m., Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George speaks about the economy and agriculture in Kansas City, Mo.

In Europe, the German ZEW indicator of economic sentiment for July declined and came in below economists expectations, prompting concerns about the strength of the eurozone's largest economy.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 1/32, raising the yield to 2.547%.The dollar was falling 0.18% to $82.89 according to the U.S. dollar index.

The FTSE in London was falling 0.02%, while the DAX in Germany was rising 0.42%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan settled up 0.64% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng closed up 0.04%.

August crude oil futures were rising 21 cents to $106.53 a barrel, while August gold futures were up $2.10 to $1,285.60 an ounce.

U.S. stocks gained for an eighth day on Monday as Citigroup's ( C) better-than-expected second-quarter profits offset a slowdown in U.S. retail spending and broader growth in China, the world's second-largest economy.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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