Wall Street was poised for a higher open on Monday as Greece launched a sovereign bond issue, easing concerns about the country's debt problems, while investors were optimistic about key jobs data later this week.
Greece approved five banks to lead sales of a new benchmark seven-year bond, its first test of the market after a deal was reached last week with the euro zone leaders and the International monetary Fund to give Athens a financial safety net. Greece has about 23 billion euros ($31 billion) in bonds maturing between now and the end of May.
A week of heavy economic data began with U.S. consumer spending, which rose as expected in February for a fifth straight month, while stagnant incomes pushed savings to their lowest level since October 2008, the government reported. The market did not see much movement after the data.
Key labor market data is due Friday, with economists saying the economy created about 190,000 jobs in March, but investors will have to be brave enough to bet ahead of the data release since the U.S. stock market will be closed for the Good Friday holiday. Private sector jobs data on Wednesday and jobless claims on Thursday may offer clues.
I guess the big takeaway is that consumers are comfortably consuming again. We have positive numbers five months in a row since October said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.7 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 gained 22 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8.75 points.
In company news, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China's largest privately run carmaker, agreed Sunday to buy Ford Motor Co's
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is not yet on board with Washington Mutual Inc's
General Growth Properties Inc
Oil prices rose toward $81 a barrel on Monday, recouping some losses in the previous session, supported by a weaker dollar and positive data, including a rise in Euro zone sentiment in March.
European markets mostly rose after a survey showed economic sentiment in the 16 countries that use the euro rose and investors grew more upbeat about Greece's ability to handle its debt problems.
The Dow and S&P ended flat Friday, giving back earlier gains, after the sinking of a South Korean naval ship, while technology sector weakness kept the Nasdaq in slightly negative territory.
(Additional Reporting by Emily Flitter; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)