RTTNews - Following a notable rally to kick off the week, stocks are looking to open on a mixed note Tuesday as traders digest an influx of economic and earnings figures. The major index futures are on opposite sides of the unchanged mark, with the Nasdaq futures below the unchanged mark.

On the economic front, a report released by the Commerce Department revealed that retail sales increased by a little more than expected in the month of June, with the sales growth due in large part to increased sales by gas stations.

The report showed that retail sales rose 0.6 percent in June following an unrevised 0.5 percent increase in May. Economists had been expecting retail sales to increase by a somewhat more modest 0.4 percent.

Excluding a 2.3 percent increase in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales increased by 0.3 percent in June compared to a 0.4 percent increase in May. The increase in ex-auto sales came in below economist estimates of 0.5 percent growth.

In a separate report, the U.S. Labor Department revealed that producer prices, a key measure of wholesale inflation, rose 1.8 percent in June. This followed a 0.2 percent increase in the previous month. Core producer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, climbed 0.5 percent.

Aside from the economic figures, traders are also digesting a slew of earnings. Goldman Sachs Group (GS) reported second-quarter earnings of $2.72 billion or $4.93 per share, compared to $2.05 billion or $4.58 per share in the same quarter of last year.

Excluding the impact of the TARP, earnings were $3.14 billion or $5.71 per common share for the second quarter of 2009. Wall Street expected the company to report earnings of $3.54 per share for the quarter.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) reported adjusted second quarter earnings of $4.26 billion, down from $4.42 billion in the year ago quarter. On a per share basis, earnings were $1.15, compared to $1.18 per share in the same period last year. Analysts forecast the firm to earn $1.11 per share.

Railroad operator CSX Corp. (CSX) reported second quarter earnings after the close of trading on Monday, reporting earnings of $0.78 per share compared to $0.93 per share last year. Excluding the impact of discontinued operations, the company earned $0.72 per share.

Meanwhile, Novellus Systems (NVLS) reported an adjusted second-quarter loss of $39.3 million or $0.41 per share versus net income of $6.2 million or $0.06 per share in the year ago quarter. Wall Street analysts expected the company to report a loss of $0.38 per share for the quarter.

In other news, video-game developer Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) lowered its outlook for fiscal year 2009, citing several factors, including a delay in the launch of BioShock 2. The company also reduced its outlook for the third and fourth quarters, reflecting reduced sales of catalog products and lower than anticipated orders of new releases amid a challenging retail environment.

After showing a lack of direction in early trading on Monday, stocks rallied amid some positive analyst comments on the financial sector. The Dow closed up by 185 points at 8,332, the Nasdaq moved up by 37 points to 1,793 and the S&P 500 rose by 22 points to 901.

Crude oil futures are moving higher in early commodities trading, rising by $1.33 to $61.02 a barrel after dropping by $0.20 to $59.69 percent last week. Meanwhile, the price of gold is rising $2.10 to $924.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is mixed against the major European currencies, moving up to $1.3971 against the euro while dipping to $1.6292 versus the pound. Against the yen, the dollar is recovering from a nearly five-month low, trading at 93.23 yen.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Tuesday's session notably higher, with Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbing by 2.3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

The major European markets are also on the rise, with the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index rising by 1.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is also moving higher, climbing by 0.9 percent.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com