Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.26 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.24 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.43 percent at 0813 GMT (4:13 a.m. ET).

Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> fell 0.6 percent on Monday after reports of soaring radiation levels at a damaged nuclear plant. <.T>

Renewed worries over Japan's crippled reactors, as well as spreading violence in the Middle East and North Africa, also weighed on European stocks, but a rally in banking and tech shares helped the market eke out gains and keep its sharp 7-day recovery rally alive.

In Libya, rebels pushed west over the weekend to retake a series of towns from the forces of Muammar Gaddafi who have been pounded by Western air strikes, while in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad deployed the army in the country's main port of Latakia for the first time after nearly two weeks of protests spread across the country.

Oil was steady as investors looked to Middle East geopolitics to maintain near-record long speculative positions, while flaring unrest over the weekend was limited to minor crude exporters Syria and Yemen.

The euro dipped on Monday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives lost a key state election and it could pull back toward $1.39 in the near-term, with the dollar supported after hawkish comments from some Fed officials.

On the macro front, investors will keep an eye on the National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales for February. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 1.0 percent drop compared with a 2.8 percent decline in January.

Consumer goods giants Procter & Gamble
and Unilever will both raise their prices on detergent and soap in China by up to 15 percent next month, local media reported, underscoring the challenges Beijing faces to rein in inflation.

Japan's Advantest Corp <6857.T> said on Monday it has agreed to buy U.S.-listed chip tester Verigy Ltd for about 90.9 billion yen ($1.1 billion) to bolster its position in testers for chips used in smart phones.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp said on Monday that one of its exploration wells encountered high-quality oil off the coast of Ghana, the latest in a string of discoveries for the U.S. oil and gas firm in African waters.

Wall Street advanced for a third straight day on Friday, giving the S&P its best weekly performance since early February, but volume remained light as global uncertainty persisted.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 50.03 points, or 0.41 percent, to 12,220.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 4.14 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,313.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 6.64 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,743.06.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)