U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 up 0.8 to 1 percent.

Kraft Foods Inc may raise its offer for British chocolatier Cadbury Plc or offer more cash in its bid if rival takeover offers emerge, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday. Cadbury shares were up 2 percent.

Kraft took a 9.9 billion pound ($16.37 billion) hostile offer for Cadbury to shareholders two weeks ago. Most of the remaining large players in the global confectionery industry -- U.S.-based Hershey Co , Italy's Ferrero and Switzerland's Nestle -- are now weighing takeover bids themselves, according to Reuters sources and media reports.

A group of U.S. business economists boosted their forecast for economic growth over the next year, but said the jobless rate will remain stubbornly high, a survey released on Monday showed.

The National Association for Business Economists predicted real growth in gross domestic product for 2010 would be 2.9 percent, up from its October forecast for 2.6 percent growth.

A senior U.S. Federal Reserve official said on Sunday the central bank should keep alive its mortgage-related assets purchase program beyond a planned end-date to give policymakers more flexibility as they seek to help the economy recover from a painful recession.

Ciena Corp will buy Nortel Networks Corp's optical networking and carrier ethernet business for $769 million after trumping Nokia Siemens Networks in a three-day auction, sources told Reuters on Sunday.

Microsoft Corp has had talks with News Corp about a tie up, which would involve News Corp getting paid to take its news websites off Google Inc , a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Fertilizer maker Terra Industries Inc on Sunday rejected rival CF Industries Holdings Inc's latest proposal to buy it, saying the new offer was at the same price as CF's already-rejected proposal from November 1.

Shares of Activision Blizzard Inc were inexpensive despite record sales of a video game and the company buying back nearly $300 million in stock in the third quarter, Barron's said on Sunday.

Commodity stocks will be in focus as crude prices rose more than 1 percent to top $78 a barrel after the U.S. dollar lost its footing and heightened tensions between key oil exporter Iran and Western nations raised speculation of a potential supply threat.

Spot gold hit a record high and key base metals prices rose, supported by a weakness in the dollar.

The day's earnings calendar includes quarterly results from Campbell Soup and Hewlett-Packard , while on the macro front, the agenda includes the Chicago Fed National Activity Index for October, due at 1330 GMT (8:30 a.m. EST). The National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases existing home sales for October at 1500 GMT (10 a.m. EST).

China's annual economic growth will reach 10 percent this quarter and grow even faster in the first quarter of 2010, Yu Bin, a government researcher with the State Council Development Research Center said in remarks published on Monday.

General Motors expects its China sales growth to drop dramatically in 2010 as the carmaker nears the end of a year of government stimulus-fueled growth in the world's biggest car market, the head of the company's China operations said on Monday.

Health insurer Humana Inc is looking for acquisitions in complementary areas to adapt to changing healthcare need, its Chief Executive Mike McCallister told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

European equities rose, snapping a four-day losing streak, with firmer crude and metal prices boosting commodity shares. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares was up 1.5 percent at 1,017.56 points.

U.S. stocks fell for a third straight day on Friday as investors took weaker-than-expected results from computer maker Dell and homebuilder D.R. Horton as a further sign that the recovery would be anemic.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 14.28 points, or 0.14 percent, to 10,318.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 3.52 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,091.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> slipped 10.78 points, or 0.50 percent, to 2,146.04.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by John Stonestreet)