Dow futures strong earnings from Caterpillar and 3M

U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open on Tuesday as earnings season kicked up a notch.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 136 points, boosted by strong quarterly results from 3M and Caterpillar.

Caterpillar reported earnings per share of $1.95 on revenue of $11.413 billion. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a profit of $1.27 per share on sales of $10.649 billion. Caterpillar shares rose 6.1 percent.

3M shares rose 3.1 percent before the bell after the company posted earnings per share of $2.33 on sales of $8.172 billion. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a profit of $2.21 per share on revenue of $7.927 billion.

United Technologies, another Dow component, also reported better-than-expected results; its stock rose 2.57 percent in the premarket.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.25 points and 9.75 points, respectively. General Motors, Eli Lilly and Polaris Industries also reported quarterly results before the bell.

After the bell, AT&T, Capital One, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Discover Financial, Juniper Networks and many more are set to report earnings.

This is the busiest week of the earnings season, with about a third of the S&P 500 expected to have reported by Friday.

Data is also likely to hit the spot, as a whole slew of economic releases get published during the morning hours.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, investors are expected to pore over the latest Philadelphia Fed non-manufacturing business outlook survey, followed by the flash US Composite PMI at 9:45 a.m. ET. These releases will then be accompanied by the Richmond Fed survey of manufacturing activity, due out at 10 a.m.

While no major speeches by the U.S. Federal Reserve are scheduled to take place Tuesday, talk of who will take on the role of Fed chair in early 2018 will remain a key topic of conversation among investors. At present, five people have been named as potential candidates, including current Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Elsewhere, domestic politics is expected to be another factor to keep watch of, as Wall Street looks for any developments surrounding tax reform.

Last week, the Senate passed a budget proposal that allowed Republicans to move closer to eventually passing tax reform — a measure that was approved by a vote of 51-49.

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Looking to the energy market, oil prices ticked higher in early trade, with U.S. crude trading around $52.16 at 8:15 a.m. ET, while Brent hovered around $57.53 per barrel.

In markets news, U.S. stocks fell from their record levels in the previous session, with all three major indexes closing in the red, despite each one posting intraday records.

Overseas, European stocks were under slight pressure during morning trade, while markets in Asia finished on a relative

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