Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 1 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.8 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 1 percent at 0930 GMT (5:30 a.m. ET).
Investors were relieved to see that Hurricane Irene, downgraded to tropical storm status, caused less damage than feared in New York city over the weekend. Wall Street will be open on Monday, although with the New York subway system and commuter rail service halted, volumes were expected to be thin.
The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 <.STOXX50E> index was up 1.5 percent early, tracking Friday's rally on Wall Street and as investors brushed aside a call on Saturday by the new head of the International Monetary Fund on global policymakers to pursue urgent action to prevent another recession, including forcing European banks to bulk up their capital.
Christine Lagarde called for a mandatory substantial recapitalization, through private channels if possible, but otherwise through some form of public, Europe-wide funding, such as the European Financial Stability Facility.
Greek bank shares jumped on Monday after sources said EFG Eurobank
On the macro side, investors awaited monthly personal income and consumption data, the Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index as well as pending home sales.
The dollar fell against a basket of major currencies on Monday, with traders speculating the Federal Reserve may offer more stimulus next month in the face of an uncertain growth outlook.
On Friday, Wall Street posted its first weekly gain in more than a month as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke raised hopes for more stimulus for the economy at the U.S. central bank's September meeting.
Initially stocks fell after Bernanke stopped short of describing detailed plans to strengthen the ailing economy. But the market turned higher, led by technology shares, as investors concluded the Fed was leaving the door open for action even though many traders believe it has limited power to pull the economy out of a rut.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> ended up 134.72 points, or 1.21 percent, at 11,284.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 17.53 points, or 1.51 percent, at 1,176.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 60.22 points, or 2.49 percent, at 2,479.85. For the week, the Dow rose 4.3 percent, the S&P gained 4.7 percent and the Nasdaq rose 5.9 percent.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)