NYSE Feb 28 2012
New York Stock Exchange. Reuters

U.S. stock futures were up on Tuesday suggesting a higher open for markets, ahead of the publication of retail sales data, the import price index, and another round of quarterly earnings statements from U.S. companies.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.37 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.37 percent.

Investors are expected to focus on retail sales for the month of July to be published at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. Retail sales data, which measure consumer spending that accounts for a bulk of the country's economic activity, is expected to post a gain of 0.3 percent in July. Retail sales in June had disappointed by increasing 0.4 percent compared to analysts’ forecast of a 0.8 percent gain.

Investors are also expected to focus on the Import Price Index due to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The index, which measures the change in the price of imported goods and services purchased domestically, is expected to gain by 0.2 percent in July, after falling by 0.2 percent in June, marking its fourth-straight monthly decline.

On the earnings front, several companies including JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ:JDSU) and Cree Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE) are expected to report quarterly earnings, on Tuesday.

European markets were trading significantly higher on Tuesday, following the publication of inflation data from Germany and Spain that were mostly in line with expectations, and ahead of a raft of economic data, including the ZEW German business confidence survey and consumer inflation figures, from the European Union, set to be released on Tuesday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.54 percent, London’s FTSE 100 up 0.67 percent, Germany's DAX-30 was up 0.91 percent and France's CAC-40 was trading up 0.42 percent.

In Asia too, most markets ended up, with Japan’s Nikkei ending up 2.57 percent, as the yen weakened against the dollar and after local media reported that Japan’s government is considering a proposal to cut corporate taxes.

In China, the Shanghai Composite index ended up 0.23 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rallied 1.21 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.96 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index added 1.50 percent.

India’s BSE Sensex was trading up 1.3 percent in late-afternoon trade as better-than-expected trade data released by the Indian government, on Monday, boosted investor confidence. According to the data, India’s exports rose by 11.64 percent in July from the previous month, and its trade deficit saw a 30 percent year-on-year decline to $12.3 billion in July, below analysts’ forecast of $13.8 billion.