Futures Rise as Alcoa Trumps Portugal Cut

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Tuesday after Alcoa got earnings season off to a positive start by beating estimates. Positive sentiment overcame another debt downgrade for Europe.

European shares were higher, showing little reaction after Moody's cut Portugal's rating by two notches to A1. Also in Europe, Greece managed to sell $2.03 billion of 6-month T-bills, but had to pay a higher yield compared to the April auction. Asian shares ended mostly lower with Shanghai stocks dragging on the region.

Among this morning's economic numbers: the government releases May trade deficit figures at 8:30 am New York time. Economists predict that the deficit came in at $38.9 billion for the month, compared with an April gap of $40.3 billion. At 2 pm the June Federal budget deficit figures arrive, with consensus forecasts saying that the budget ran a $69.5 billion shortfall for the month, compared with a gap of $94.3 billion in May.

The Treasury will sell $21 billion in 10-year notes Tuesday, following a successful auction of 3-year notes Monday. As usual, the auction results will be available shortly after 1 pm.

On the earnings front, Intel will report its latest numbers after the closing bell. Restaurant operator Yum Brands will also release quarterly numbers after the bell.

The latest news from BP: a new containment cap for the massive Gulf spill is ready to be tested, and the Financial Times is reporting that the costs of dealing with the spill will cut BP's tax bill by $10 billion over four years.

Shares of BP were higher in London trading and ended sharply higher in New York trading Monday.