Wall Street stocks were set for a slightly higher open on Monday on hopes of strong corporate earnings.
Aluminum maker Alcoa
Pricing power. Those two magic words will be ever so important for those companies that rely on raw materials as an input cost as we ready ourselves for earnings reports from corporate America, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak + Co in New York.
With profit margins at about record highs, the ability to pass through higher costs will be the key factor on whether this can be sustained.
Market reaction was relatively calm after another strong aftershock struck northeast Japan on Monday and the evacuation zone around a crippled nuclear plant was expanded.
NYSE Euronext shares fell 1.2 percent to $38.25 before the bell. Deutsche Boerse shares in Germany rose more than 1 percent.
Shares of Biogen Idec Inc
Endo Pharmaceuticals Holding Inc
Shares of Endo rose 6.5 percent to $43.50 in light premarket trading while American Medical was up 32.4 percent at $29.56.
U.S. President Barack Obama will lay out his approach for long-term deficit reduction later this week, his senior adviser David Plouffe said on Sunday. Obama will look at the Medicare and Medicaid government healthcare programs for the elderly and the poor to see what kind of savings are possible, Plouffe told NBC's Meet the Press.
S&P 500 futures rose 2 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 added 15 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 7.75 points.
After three months of solid gains that have brought stocks to 2 1/2-year highs, some analysts said the U.S. earnings season may not be the time for investors to buy aggressively since this year's winners already reflect earnings optimism.
Brent crude fell below $125 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures slipped more than $1 a barrel. Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi shelled the town of Misrata after the African Union said he had accepted a plan to end Libya's civil war.
U.S. stocks fell late on Friday as a spike in oil prices revived worries that inflation would derail the recovery, jolting a market that had been treading water ahead of corporate earnings.
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)