Analyst Watch: Signs of a Bullish Earnings Season?

Stock index futures were higher on Tuesday after better-than-expected results from Alcoa and CSX gave a promising start to the earnings season.

Alcoa, the first Dow component to report, posted second-quarter earnings that beat expectations late on Monday, raising hopes of similarly strong results for other companies this season. Rail company CSX also posted a higher-than-expected profit.

Alcoa shares were up 4.5 percent to $11.36 in premarket trading while CSX closed Monday at $52.46.

Investors have been eagerly awaiting the season for confirmation that a recent rally was justified. Last week, the S&P posted its strongest week of the year, rising more than 5 percent.

Here's what guests on today's Squawk on the Street are watching before the opening bell:

Dow Earnings Outlook

This will be a good earnings season, says Brent Wilsey, president of Wilsey Asset Management. He says that while there might be a lot of fear out there, many companies are doing a good job of running their business and that will be reflected in the earnings. He has good expectations for stock buybacks, which should help increase earnings per share. For many companies, says Wilsey, buying back stock is the best thing to do with their large sums of cash.

It's time for the big caps to outperform, says Wilsey. Because they are trading at higher multiples or are holding a lot of debt, he would stay away from American Express, Boeing and Verizon. He likes Chevron , Intel and Microsoft right now.

Michael Sansoterra, co-manager of RidgeWorth Large Cap Growth Stock Fund, also feels good about this earnings season. He says we haven't seen any negative pre-announcements, so let's not dire. It's important to recognize that growth is slowing, but for the most part it's factored in, he says.

Investors recognize that missing on FX isn’t a big deal; they’re looking at guidance and tone, he says. Sansoterra says guidance will be in-line to expectations and if you haven’t lowered your numbers enough, then you might be a little bit lower. But, he adds, a lot of that is priced in off the peaks and he doesn't think this will be a volatile earnings season.

Sansoterra likes:

3M : From a growth perspective, he thinks the St. Paul, Minn.-based company is in a good spot. It has international exposure is in the developing regions, expectations are light and he thinks its numbers can continue to beat. 3M pre-released that revenue will be higher and Sansoterra says that could continue.

American Express: After looking at the metrics, Sansoterra thinks this company's credit is improving. Delinquencies have come down and the dollar amount of credit expanding, he says. Sansoterra thinks they're discounting worst-case scenario.

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See more of what these and other analysts and money managers have to say, and get the latest financial news. Watch Squawk on the Street every weekday morning starting at 9 a.m. ET.


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Disclosure: Wilsey owns Intel and Microsoft.