Stock Futures Climb; Bernanke, Earnings in Focus

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U.S. stock-index futures climbed on Tuesday after a weak performance in the last session as traders waited for Fed chief Ben Bernanke's testimony and digested a slew of corporate earnings.

Today's Markets

As of 8:36 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 45 points to12693, S&P 500 futures gained 5 points to 1353 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 11.5 points to 2583.

Tuesday is set to be a busy day, with a slew of corporate and economic reports on tap. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is set to make his semiannual monetary policy report before the Senate banking committee at 10:00 a.m. ET. The testimony comes amid a gloomy backdrop for the U.S. and global economy. Traders got a round of weak U.S. retail sales data on Monday, and a report pointing to tepid job growth earlier in the month.

There are hopes among some market participants that Bernanke will take a more dovish tone given the weak data. However, the central bank recently embarked on the second round of "Operation Twist," a program designed to lengthen the size of its balance sheet without adding to it.

The Fed has repeatedly pointed to the treacherous situation in Europe as a key downside risk to the U.S. economy. And indeed, global trading desks were confronted with a round of glum data on the day. A closely-watched report from the ZEW Center for European Economic Research showed investor confidence fell for the third month in a row in Germany to the lowest level since January.

The markets will also get fresh data on U.S. consumer prices and industrial production. Prices at the consumer level remained unchanged in June from May, according to the Labor Department. Excluding the food and energy segments, so-called "core prices" were up 0.2%. Both readings were in line with expectations.

Meanwhile, industrial production, which is a broad indicator of U.S. factory activity,  is expected to have ticked up by 0.3% on a month-to-month basis in June.

Earnings Deluge

Earnings season is also swinging into full gear.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) posted second-quarter earnings of $1.78 a share, which came in better than expectations of $1.16. The investment banking giant revealed net revenues of $6.63 billion, also better than the $6.28 billion analysts expected.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) unveiled a second-quarter comparable EPS of $1.22, topping estimates of $1.19. The world’s biggest beverage maker posted operating revenues of $13.09 billion, higher than the $12.98 billion Wall Street expected.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) posted an adjusted second-quarter profit of $1.30 a share on sales of $16.5 billion. Wall Street expected the consumer health company to earn $1.29 on $16.69 billion. The Dow component lowered its full-year guidance to $5 to $5.07 a share, weaker than the consensus estimate of $5.14.

Then, after the close, traders will get reports from Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), CSX (NYSE:CSX) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).

Crude oil prices have been climbing amid tension in the Middle East. The benchmark contract traded in New York rose 25 cents, or 0.28%, to $88.68 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 1% to $2.885 a gallon.

In metals, gold fell 40 cents, or 0.02%, to $1,591 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.68% to 2267, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.26% to 5648 and the German DAX gained 0.57% to 6603.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged higher by 0.35% to 8755 and the Chinese Hang Seng rallied 1.8% to 19455.