Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Monday after bullish comments from a Federal Reserve official eased concerns that high oil prices could hurt economic activity.
In another boost to stocks, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc
Berkshire's Class B
Equities had their worst performance since November last week as the civilian revolt in Libya sparked a steep jump in crude oil prices, raising fears that higher energy could affect economic growth. Despite that, the S&P is on track to end February with a gain of 2.6 percent.
James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, said the U.S. economy should do well in 2011 and that oil prices are not currently a drag on the recovery.
Malcolm Polley, president of Stewart Capital Advisors in Indiana, Pennsylvania, said Bullard was right that prices won't put a crimp in activity unless they get substantially higher, but if gas prices remain at a sustained level, that will eat into people's discretionary dollars.
April crude futures fell 0.6 percent to $97.35 per barrel as supply reassurances from Saudi Arabia had soothed market fears over protests in oil producer Oman.
The dollar fell to three-month lows on expectations the threat to growth from high oil would keep U.S. monetary policy loose, in contrast to the more hawkish outlooks of other major central banks.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.9 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 gained 51 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.75 points.
U.S.-listed shares of HSBC Holdings Plc
Personal income rose 1 percent in January, a greater rise than anticipated, while spending was at its weakest level since June 2010.
January pending home sales, due at 10 a.m. EST, are seen falling 2.2 percent after a rise in the previous month.
U.S. stocks rose on Friday, bouncing back from a three-day sell-off as oil stabilized.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)