U.S. stocks headed for a higher open on Monday as solid results from major European banks and expectations of a sales rebound for Ford Motor Co reinforced hopes that the recession is moderating.

Shares of Ford were up 7 percent at $8.58 before the bell after senior company executives said the automaker was on track to post its first monthly sales increase in two years.

In banking news, Barclays PLC reported an 8 percent rise in half-year profit, while HSBC Holdings PLC said its first-half profit halved from a year ago, but the results were better than the analyst consensus forecast.

The greatest difficulty has been in financials, so the gains in HSBC and Barclays (are) adding to optimism and (suggest) that the worst may be over, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

It's comforting to see that we are in a global rebound in earnings.

The Select Sector SPDR Financial ETF was up 2.2 percent before the bell.

A rise in oil prices was also poised to underpin the broader market, with U.S. front-month crude up 2.4 percent, or $1.65, to $71.10 a barrel.

S&P 500 futures rose 10 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 climbed 74 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were 17.00 points higher.

The rise in U.S. stock index futures suggested that indexes will open up about 1 percent or more. The benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> could begin trading at a 9-month high, very close to the psychologically important 1,000 level, after registering its best five-month winning streak since 1938 on Friday.

In Europe stocks were up more than 1 percent <.FTEU3>.

3M Co shares rose 2.4 percent to $72.22 before the bell after Goldman Sachs upgraded the Dow component to buy from neutral.

Ford, due to report its July sales later in the day, is among the primary beneficiaries of the federal government's Cash for Clunkers incentive program that took effect on July 24.

The Senate on Monday is due to vote on extending the program to stimulate auto sales after the U.S. House approved $2 billion for it on top of an initial $1 billion in June.

The economic calendar includes the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). A Reuters poll of economists forecast a July reading of 46.2 from 44.8 in June.

(Additional reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)