* Futures up: Dow 50 pts, S&P 8 pts, Nasdaq 19 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
April 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Tuesday as oil rose even as Alcoa's weaker-than-expected quarterly results kicked off the earnings season on a dismal note.
* Crude rose above $40 per barrel on hopes that a meeting of major producers on Sunday would result in a deal to curb a persistent global oversupply.
* Data from China showing an 8.8 percent rise in March vehicle sales also supported the rise in oil.
* Shares of Alcoa were down 4.2 percent at $9.33 in premarket trading.
* Investors will turn their attention to corporate earnings over the next several weeks, amid turbulent global markets and the uncertainty about the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to raise interest rates.
* Wall Street closed lower on Monday with consumer staples offsetting a rise in bank and materials stocks.
* Data on Tuesday is likely to show U.S. import prices rose 1 percent in March after falling 0.3 percent the previous month. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
* Starbucks fell 1.4 percent to $60.02 after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy."
* Juniper Networks sank 8 percent to $22.90 after the company estimated quarterly profit and revenue below analysts' expectations.
* Abbvie rose 1.9 percent to $59.60 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval for the company's blood cancer drug.
Futures snapshot at 7:03 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were up 50 points, or 0.29 percent, with 21,516 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.39 percent, with 171,578 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 19 points, or 0.43 percent, on volume of 24,552 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)