With traders continuing to express optimism about the financial situation in Europe, stocks may extend their recent upward move in early trading on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 37 points.
The upward momentum for the markets comes as traders continue to expect the European Central Bank to take additional steps to address the ongoing debt crisis in the eurozone.
Economic data from Europe showed that the Italian economy shrank in the second quarter, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of contraction. A separate report showed a steeper than expected drop in German factory orders in June.
The disappointing data may be helping to fuel optimism that European officials will be forced to step in and provide additional stimulus.
Amid another light day on the U.S. economic calendar, traders are likely to keep an eye on comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Bernanke is scheduled to host a town hall event with educators from across the country and will take questions after delivering prepared remarks.
Investors are likely to pay close attention to the question-and-answer portion, hoping that the Fed chief will address the state of the economy and the outlook for monetary policy.
The Federal Reserve is also due to release its report on consumer credit in the month of June at 3 pm ET. Economists expect credit to increase by about $10.3 billion.
In corporate news, shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) could see early strength after the natural gas producer reported strong second quarter profit growth. The company also said it expects $7 billion in asset sales during the third quarter.
by RTT Staff Writer
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