NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open slightly higher Tuesday, as investors prepare to shift their focus to the latest round of corporate results.
Dow Jones industrial average (), S&P 500 ( ) and Nasdaq ( ) futures ticked up. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
With little major economic news expected Tuesday, trading could be quiet as investors await first-quarter financial results from Corporate America. Dow component Alcoa ( , Fortune 500) is on tap to report after the closing bell, kicking off a slew of results due in the next few weeks.
Analysts are forecasting a 0.1% drop in first-quarter earnings for companies in the S&P 500 compared to a year earlier, according to FactSet. While that's not exactly a major decline, it would mark the end of a nine-quarter winning streak.
Stocks were on a tear in the first three months of this year, with the Dow and S&P 500 enjoying their best first quarter in over a decade. But barring some big surprises in corporate earnings, Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics, said the market was "due for a pullback" in the next few weeks.
"To justify the stock market going up the way it's gone up, you need to have a lot stronger growth than we have now," Brusca said.
Economy: A report on wholesale inventories is due shortly after the market opens on Tuesday. Inventories are forecast to have risen 0.5% in February, following a 0.4% uptick in January.
On Monday, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech in Georgia that banks need to increase their capital buffers in order to ensure stability in the financial system.
Companies: Aluminum producer Alcoa ( , Fortune 500) is on deck to post first-quarter financial results after the market closes. Worries about the materials sector are looming amid growing fears about a slowdown in China. Analysts are predicting a 14.5% drop in earnings for this sector, according to FactSet.
Sony () shares were down 8% in premarket trading Tuesday after the electronics maker announced it expects an annual loss of more than double its previous projection. The company said the revision came after recording additional tax expenses, primarily in the United States.
World markets: European stocks were lower in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE-100 ( ) slipped 0.9%, the DAX ( ) in Germany dropped 1.1%, and France's CAC 40 ( ) shed 1.7%.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei () slipped 0.1%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng ( ) lost 1.2% and the Shanghai Composite ( ) gained 0.9%.
Oil for May delivery slipped $0.31 to $102.15 a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery rose $4.20 to $1646.70 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped, pushing the yield up to 2.05% from 2.03% late Monday.
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