Stocks regain firmer footing

sp 500 futures 640
Click on chart to track premarkets

Global markets and U.S. futures were on a firmer footing Tuesday, with positive economic reports setting the tone.

U.S. stock futures were up by roughly 0.3% as other major markets around the world climbed higher.

U.S. stock indexes have surged this year to hit record highs, but the markets have softened this month as investors and traders focus more on their summer holidays and less on their investment strategies.

For those market players who are still in the office Tuesday, they'll be reviewing the U.S. Census Bureau's monthly report on retail sales, which comes out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Retail sales are expected to have edged up by 0.2% in July, according to consensus.

Firms including Flowers Foods (FLO) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) are scheduled to report quarterly results before the opening bell.

Related: Fear & Greed Index, ruled by fear

Shares of Yum! Brands (YUM) sank in premarket trading after the restaurant operator said same-store sales at its KFC locations in China dropped 13% versus last year, as the company continues to struggle in the wake of a food safety scandal.

J.C. Penney (JCP) shares were slightly higher in premarket trading after William Ackman, the troubled retailer's leading shareholder, resigned from the company's board. Ackman has been demanding the ouster of CEO Myron Ullman and Chairman Thomas Engibous; in its statement, Penney said its board reiterated its "overwhelming support" for the two leaders.

European markets were rising in morning trading, with Germany's benchmark Dax index up by 1%. The latest German inflation data showed prices rose by 1.9% in July compared to the same time last year. That was generally in line with expectations.

Economists expect German investor sentiment and eurozone industrial production reports due later to provide further evidence of a recovery in Europe. There are also indications of a housing boom in the United Kingdom.

Related: Risky business in China

"There are more and more indications that the recession is beginning to ease and that Europe is pulling out of the recession," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "I suspect that the market is looking to regain some footage today."

Markets in Asia closed higher on the day with Japan's Nikkei advancing 2.6% on positive economic data and a weaker yen. The Hang Seng added 1.2% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2%.

CNNMoney Sponsors