RTTNews - Following a mixed finish to the previous session, stocks are poised to open modestly lower on Tuesday as traders await the start of earnings season and some key economic figures later in the week. The major index futures are all in negative territory, with Dow futures down by 19 points.

Some traders may turn to profit taking amid the lack of first tier economic data on the day and ahead of the start of earnings season later this week, with aluminum manufacturing giant Alcoa (AA) set to report after the close of trading on Wednesday.

Alcoa, the litmus test for the season, is expected to incur a loss of $0.34 per share on revenues of $3.94 billion for the second quarter. In the prior year period, the company posted earnings of $0.66 per share on revenues of $7.62 billion.

Meanwhile, a series of reports on employment, international trade and consumer sentiment will also help to guide the equity markets later this week.

Today, some traders may focus on the Treasury Department's $35.0 billion auction of three-year notes amid interest rate concerns in the broader markets.

Yesterday, an auction of 10-year Treasury Inflation Protect Securities, or TIPS, by the Treasury drew a yield of 1.92 percent and saw strong demand, posting a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.51, its highest in nine years.

The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

The government has continued its bond selling spree to fund its accelerated stimulus spending. Recently, Vice President Joe Biden confessed that the Obama administration misread the state of the economy, while other members of the administration have not ruled out the possibility of a second stimulus package.

After a sharp move to the downside in early going, stocks were able to shed most of their losses in late trading on Monday. While the major averages all moved higher going into the close, the Nasdaq was unable to break into positive territory. Subsequently, the Nasdaq finished down 9 points at 1,787, while the Dow closed up 44.13 points at 8,325 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.30 to 899.

Crude oil futures are moving modestly higher in early commodities trading, rising by $0.41 to $64.46 a barrel after ending the previous session down $2.68 at $64.05 a barrel. The price of gold is also rising, moving up by $5.50 to $929.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is mixed against the major European currencies, falling against the euro to $1.4029 while advancing to $1.6230 versus the pound. Meanwhile, the dollar is little changed against the yen at 95.35 yen.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Tuesday's session mixed. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed down by 0.3 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.4 percent on the day.

The major European markets are moving to the upside, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index up by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is also advancing, showing a gain of 0.6 percent.

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