Stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Monday as a softer dollar helped boost commodity prices and, potentially, earnings of export oriented U.S. companies.
In a possible sign of healthier capital markets, private equity firm Blackstone Group 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.
The U.S. dollar fell 0.3 percent 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.
We have strong overseas markets, and that's helping to set the tone as well, along with the slightly lower dollar, said Steve Goldman, market strategist at Weeden & Co in Greenwich, Connecticut.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.4 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 added 48 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 8.50 points
While some analysts see Blackstone's move to sell assets as a sign of a healthier equity market, others say the firm may believe prices are topping out and are selling while the going is good.
I would not be taking the other side of a Blackstone trade, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.
Blackstone shares rose about 5 percent in premarket trade.
Shares in Black & Decker Corp jumped nearly 9 percent as the power tools maker raised its third quarter earnings outlook.
A slew of blue chip companies are preparing to report earnings this week, starting on Tuesday with Intel Corp and Johnson & Johnson .
It's going to be a market searching for direction this morning but will have plenty of things to react to as the week goes on, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York.
On Nasdaq, Google Inc rose 1.7 percent to $524.90 in premarket trade. Thomas Weisel raised its price target on the stock to $620 from $530 with an overweight rating.
Crude oil pushed higher above $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.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)