A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York

Stock futures lower as investors await earnings

US (Neo Web Desk) U.S. stock index futures were lower on Tuesday as investors awaited earnings reports from a batch of companies that includes Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and Kellogg (K.N).Investors are also taking to the sidelines ahead of Friday’s monthly jobs data, which is shaping up to be critical for markets as it can provide clues on the timing of a rate hike. The U.S. economy created 225,000 new jobs in July, according to economists polled by Reuters. Wall Street ended lower on Monday as tumbling oil prices dragged energy shares to a three-year low and factory data from China raised concerns about the world’s second-biggest economy. In the United States, consumer spending recorded its smallest gain in four months, while the pace of growth in the manufacturing sector slowed in July. Soft data has prompted some investors to argue that the U.S. Federal Reserve might hold off on raising rates until December. After the Fed meeting last week, September was seen as a more possible date for a hike.The Fed, which has kept interest rates near zero for nearly a decade, has said it will raise rates only when it sees a sustained recovery in the economy. Oil prices steadied but have fallen more than 20 percent over the last month, while copper – seen as a bellwether of global growth – nudged off a six-year low. With more than half of the S&P 500 companies having reported their second-quarter results, analysts expect overall earnings to edge up 0.9 percent and revenue to decline 3.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Valuations remain a concern.

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