Oil price, earnings set to take the stage on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Tuesday, as investors direct their attention to the latest moves in oil, while keeping an eye out for new earnings releases.

Oil prices are set to be one of the big events on Tuesday, after prices rose as much as 3 percent on Monday, helping both U.S. and European markets close in positive territory.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Crude posted some sharp price rises on Monday, after news emerged that both Russia and Saudi Arabia said a deal between leading OPEC and non-OPEC producers was possible, when it came to curbing the current oil output, Reuters reported.

However, prices saw renewed pressure on Tuesday, as doubts emerged over whether a production cut would be enough. Around 7:53 a.m. ET, U.S. WTI was trading around $50.85 per barrel, while Brent crude hovered around $52.70.

Alcoa kicked off the earnings season by missing estimates on both the top and bottom line, sending its stock down 7 percent in the premarket. The firm reported revenues of $5.21 billion and earnings per share of 32 cents, with analysts polled by Reuters expecting sales of $5.31 billion and profits of 35 cents per share.

Fastenal also reported weaker-than-expected results.

Aside from oil and earnings, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to be on the back of investors' minds, as they deliberate over when the U.S. central bank is planning on raising interest rates, following a lower-than-expected jobs number for September.

One speech investors will be watching, will be that of Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari's, who is due to take part in a Q&A session at Bethel University on Tuesday morning. Kashkari is expected to cover the topics of open market operations, TARP, among other topics.

Overnight, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the central bank should engineer monetary policy to spur inflation to rise above its 2 percent target because the costs of doing so are less than in past decades.

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On the data front, the National Federation of Independent Business' (NFIB) latest survey showed confidence was weighed by inventory worries.

U.S. bond markets will also be of interest as four auctions are set to take place by the U.S. Treasury. Bond markets were closed on Monday, due to Columbus Day.

European stocks were choppy in morning trade, while Asia-Pacific indexes were mostly mixed in overnight trade. In the previous session, U.S. markets closed higher.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

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