RTTNews - Following a notable run-up last week, stocks are looking to open lower on Monday as traders may look to do some profit taking. The major index futures are all in negative territory, with the Dow futures down by 36 points.

The likely pullback to kick off the week comes amid the absence of any major catalysts, as traders may pause and move to the sidelines to contemplate their next moves. Later in the week, however, market focus will turn to some key economic reports, including data on retail sales, industrial production and weekly jobless claims.

On the corporate front, Freddie Mac (FRE) said late Friday that it no longer needs government help at this point of time, as the mortgage lender posted a positive net worth. Benefiting from accounting adjustments and gains, the company reported a second quarter profit of $821 million for the quarter on a notable increase in revenues to $7.47 billion from last year's $1.59 billion.

Warren Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) reported a 14 percent increase in second quarter earnings, fueled by gains from derivatives trading, which soared to $1.53 billion from $453 million in the second quarter of last year. The firm earned $1,147 per share, while Wall Street analysts expected the company to earn $1,238 per share for the quarter.

Microsoft (MSFT), which recently struck a ten-year deal with Yahoo (YHOO) to share search engine technology and ad revenue, announced an agreement with French ad company Publicis to dispose off its Razorfish digital advertising unit, which it had acquired as a part of its acquisition of aQuantive.

Meanwhile, McDonald's (MCD) announced that its global comparable sales rose 4.3 percent in July, benefiting from a 7.2 percent jump in sales in Europe. U.S. sales rose 2.6 percent primarily due to new products, including McCafe espresso-based coffees, and the continued strength of McDonald's core menu.

Stocks saw a notable rally on Friday, fueled by the day's encouraging employment data. The Dow closed up by 114 points at 9,370, the Nasdaq climbed by 27 points to 2,000, and the S&P 500 rose by 13 points to 1,010.

With the gains, the major averages all closed higher for the week, marking the fourth consecutive week of gains. The Dow and the S&P 500 posted weekly gains of 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, while the Nasdaq rose by a more modest 1.1 percent for the week.

Crude oil futures are unchanged early commodities trading, sitting at $70.93 a barrel after moving lower in the previous session. Meanwhile, the price of gold is sliding, falling by $3.60 to $954.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is mixed against the major European currencies, little changed against the euro with a quote of $1.4188 and moving up to $1.6619 versus the pound. Meanwhile, the buck is essentially unchanged against the yen holding at 97.17 yen.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region largely turned in strong performances on Monday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 1.1 percent, reaching a ten-month high, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 2.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are moving lower, with the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both down by 0.9 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is sliding by 0.6 percent.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com