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Stocks set for modest gains as oil rallies

Antonia Matthews
Stocks set for modest gains as oil rallies

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a modest bounce higher after on Tuesday as crude oil prices rallied after losing steam on Monday.

U.S. stocks ended slightly lower Monday as investors looked ahead to earnings season. Aggregate first-quarter S&P 500 earnings are estimated at $26.17, representing a decline of 8.1 percent year-over-year, for the third quarterly decline in a row, according to a Friday note from Lindsey Bell, senior analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. "Such a steep decline in growth hasn't been recorded since second-quarter 2009," she said.

Hopes that oil producers will agree to freeze output have supported crude prices, with Brent trading around $43 a barrel and U.S. crude at just over $40 a barrel.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) kicked off earnings season on Monday. The group was hurt by weak aluminum prices and sales missed. The stock was down over 4 percent in pre-market trade.

In economic news, March import prices are out at 8:30 a.m. ET and at 2 p.m. the monthly Federal Budget statement is released.

Railroad operatorCSX (NASDAQ: CSX) reports earnings after the bell.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, San Francisco Fed President John Williams and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker are due to speak on Tuesday.

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan has said it is too soon for an interest rate hike in the United States, but he is open to a rate hike in June. He joins CNBC at 8 a.m. ET to discuss the issue further.

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