NYSE trading floor 2012 2
NYSE. Reuters

U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open on Tuesday, and a continuation of Monday's rally, ahead of the publication of the Small Business Optimism Index and the start of the corporate earnings season for the second quarter of the year.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.5 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.49 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.43 percent.

Analysts predict that earnings growth for companies in the S&P 500 index rose 3 percent in the second quarter. However, there are apprehensions that companies might be cutting costs, instead of increasing revenues, to boost profits.

"We'll be looking to see where revenue comes in," Jim Dunigan, an executive vice president of investments at PNC, told USA Today.

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) reported its second-quarter results after the markets closed on Monday, marking the unofficial beginning of the second quarterly corporate earnings season. The aluminum producer reported a loss of 11 cents a share, or $119 million in the April-June quarter, against a loss of only $2 million a year earlier.

However, Alcoa’s adjusted earnings of 7 cents a share on revenues of $5.96 billion beat the forecast, by analysts polled by FactSet, of 6 cents a share on revenue of $5.85 billion. Alcoa shares fell 0.4 percent to $7.89 in after-hours trading on Monday, after surging 2 percent immediately after the release of its earnings report.

The National Federation of Independent Business, or NFIB, is scheduled to publish its Small Business Optimism Index at 7.30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. The index, which is a composite of 10 seasonally adjusted components and provides an indication of the health of small businesses in the U.S., is expected to register 96.2 in June, up from 94.4 recorded in the previous month, marking a third-straight monthly gain.

European markets extended gains, for the straight second day on Tuesday, after the euro zone's finance ministers agreed to award $3.86 billion in aid to Greece, on conditions that the country should meet the economic reform goals specified in its bailout package.

“Greece is on the right track in many ways, but there have been delays in some areas,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters after Monday’s Brussels meeting, according to Bloomberg News. “It is right to proceed on a cash-on-delivery basis and step by step and make the disbursements as Greece’s financing needs arise,” he said.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.82 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was up 1.07 percent, Germany's DAX-30 was up 1.07 percent and France's CAC-40 was trading up 0.75 percent. And, investors also will be keeping an eye on industrial production and trade balance data out of the U.K.

In Asia, most markets rebounded, tracking gains on Wall Street, and after better-than-expected earnings from Alcoa offset mixed inflation data from China.

“The good vibes from the commencement of Wall Street’s second-quarter reporting season has continued to spread cheer,” said Betty Lam, a sales trader at CMC Markets, according to MarketWatch.

In China, official data released on Tuesday showed that consumer prices for June rose 2.7 percent from the same period a year ago, missing economists’ expectation of a 2.5 percent rise, while wholesale prices declined 2.7 percent, recording deflation for a sixteenth straight month.

Japan’s Nikkei ended up 2.6 percent at a six-week high while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rallied 1.50 percent. In China, the Shanghai Composite index ended up 0.37 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.49 percent.

South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index added 0.74 percent and India’s BSE Sensex was trading up 0.43 percent in late-afternoon trade.