By Peter Nurse – U.S. stocks are seen opening in a subdued fashion Tuesday, ahead of the release of key inflation data and with some of the country’s banking giants leading off the new quarterly earnings season.

At 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 55 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded largely flat, while Nasdaq 100 Futures gained 50 points, or 0.3%.

The major indices have soared to record levels in recent sessions, boosted by a successful vaccination program ensuring the country reopens while being underpinned by massive levels of both monetary and fiscal stimulus.

However, it’s debatable how much longer these factors will remain in place.

The U.S. recorded its highest daily total of new Covid cases since May over the weekend as the highly-transmissible delta variant works its way through the unvaccinated portion of the population.

Attention now turns to the release of the consumer price index for June, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), which is expected to have risen by 4.9%, a small drop from May’s 5%. May's number was heavily influenced by the rise in used car prices this spring, and by a base effect from last year's energy markets that is now fading.

Rising inflation has been an important influence on Wall Street's recent movements as investors fear an overheating economy could prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten its ultra-loose monetary policy sooner-than expected.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, previously seen as something of a dove, now says the time is right to reduce the pace of central bank's bond purchases.

In the corporate sector, the second-quarter earnings season starts in earnest with the release of numbers from banking giants JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Their quarterly updates are expected to be strong given the recent rise in bond yields as well as sustained equity market strength.

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Additionally, PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) raised its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, betting on increased demand for its drinks as the entertainment sector reopens, while Johnson&Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is also likely to be in focus amid concerns the drug maker’s Covid-19 vaccine was linked to an increased risk of a rare neurological disorder.

Elsewhere, oil prices pushed higher Tuesday after the International Energy Agency warned that energy markets will “tighten significantly” if the group of top producers, known as OPEC+, doesn’t come to an agreement over adding additional output.

The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release its U.S. crude oil supply data later in the session and inventories are expected to drop for an eighth consecutive week. They fell to the lowest since February 2020 in the week to July 2.

At 7:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $74.16 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.2% to $75.31.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,808.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.1842.

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