U.S. stock index futures climbed on Monday as a softer dollar helped boost commodity prices and, potentially, earnings of export oriented U.S. companies.
* In a sign of potentially healthier capital markets, private equity firm Blackstone Group (BX.N) is planning to list up to eight of its portfolio companies, according to a source who received a letter the firm sent to investors on Friday.
* Investors are looking ahead to a series of blue chip earnings reports this week, beginning on Tuesday with Intel Corp (INTC.O) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) before other big names such as International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and General Electric Co (GE.N) later in the week.
* It's going to be a market searching for direction this morning but [it] will have plenty of things to react to as the week goes on, understanding that we've got six Dow components and 28 S&P 500 companies reporting this week, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York.
* Hogan also pointed to a plethora of economic data in the week ahead, including retail sales and consumer sentiment.
* S&P 500 futures SPc1 rose 7.2 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 DJc1 added 64 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 rose 11 points.
* The U.S. dollar fell against a basket of major currencies .DXY, continuing its recent weakness that has helped bolster U.S. stocks by lifting commodity prices and increasing the dollar value of repatriated export earnings of U.S. companies.
* Crude oil CLc1 pushed higher toward $73 a barrel, extending last week's gains, helped by growing optimism about the pace of the global economic recovery and a positive demand forecast from the International Energy Agency.
* U.S. stocks rose every day last week in their best weekly run in three months, and Dow industrials reached a new 2009 closing high on Friday as companies prepare to present their quarterly scorecards.
* The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares rose 1 percent by midday Monday, led higher by banking and commodity shares.
* In a cautious note, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Sunday there may not be as much slack in the U.S. economy as many forecasters believe, which means medium-term inflation risks could be higher.