US Futures Gain as Upbeat Start to Earnings Season Overshadows Oil Prices

U.S. stock futures were higher Tuesday as lightweight metals producer Alcoa ( AA ) unofficially kicked off the earnings season with a beat and a fairly bright outlook, offering a reprieve from oil prices ‘ dominance of sentiment.

West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery on Feb. 15 fell nearly 3% to $ 44.74 while Brent crude was lower 3.4% at $ 45.83 per barrel.

In economic data out Tuesday, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index at 9:00 a.m. E.T. is expected to be remain unchanged in December from November at 98.1. The consensus range is between 96.5 and 99.5, according to data compiled by Econoday.

At1 10:00 a.m. the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey is expected to show 4.875 million job openings in November compared to 4.834 million in October. The consensus range is between 4.825 million and 5.010 million.

In equities, Alcoa rose 1.6% after Q4 results beat estimates and as it guided for growth in most of its major markets. Meanwhile, software-as-as-service provider ChannelAdvisor ( ECOM ) fell 38% after saying its Q4 revenue will likely miss estimates and as Janney Capital downgraded the stock to neutral from buy.

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