NEW YORK, April 9 U.S. stock index futures were mixed on Tuesday as encouraging data that showed consumer inflation in China cooled last month was offset as investors braced for an earnings season that is expected to be lackluster.
* The data out of China led to expectations there would be less pressure to tighten policy, leaving room to support the nascent economic recovery.
* Forecasts for U.S. first-quarter earnings have been scaled back in 2013, with profits seen rising just 1.6 percent from the year-ago quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data. In January, earnings were seen rising 4.3 percent.
* Alcoa Inc was the first Dow component to report results after the bell on Monday. The aluminum producer reported a higher quarterly profit, but lower-than-expected revenue.
* J.C. Penney shares slid 5.5 percent to $15.00 in premarket trade after the department store chain replaced its chief executive officer with his predecessor.
* S&P 500 futures edged up 0.6 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 3 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 11 points.
* On the macro front, investors awaited U.S. wholesale inventories, due at 10:00 am EDT (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast inventories to rise 0.5 percent in February versus an increase of 1.2 percent in January.