U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower opening on Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.08 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.13 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.27 percent at 4.17 a.m. EST.

U.S. crude oil futures rose on Monday, hovering below the $100-a-barrel mark, as protests in Oman fueled concerns about the security of supplies from the Middle East and North Africa.

In Libya rebels awaited a counter-attack by Muammar Gaddafi's forces on Monday, after the country's leader defied demands that he quit to end the bloodiest of the Arab world's wave of uprisings. Rebels holding Zawiyah, only 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, said about 2,000 troops loyal to Gaddafi had surrounded the city.

J.P. Morgan has raised its average forecast for Brent crude by nearly 14 percent for 2011 as the supply-demand situation is expected to tighten on Libyan output losses.

The dollar hovered close to three-month lows on Monday, hampered by expectations that the threat to growth from high oil prices would keep U.S. monetary policy loose, in contrast to the more hawkish outlooks of other major central banks.

Playing for time to overcome a deep partisan impasse over the U.S. budget, senior lawmakers backed away on Sunday from a possible government shutdown.

Private equity firm Blackstone Group will pay about $9.4 billion for nearly 600 U.S. shopping malls and other properties of Australia's debt-laden Centro Properties , a source with direct knowledge of the transaction said on Monday.

HSBC <0005.HK>, Europe's biggest bank, cut its profitability targets due to the cost of tougher global bank regulations on Monday, and disappointed investors as its 2010 profits came in slightly below analysts' forecasts. Its shares traded in London were down 3.8 percent.

On the macro front, investors are expected to keep an eye on the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales for January, while on the earnings front, companies due to report results include AES Corp. , Edison International and Range Resources .

U.S. stocks rose on Friday, bouncing back from a three-day sell-off as oil prices stabilized, but unease over the Libyan rebellion was seen as likely to keep buying in check.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 61.95 points, or 0.51 percent, to end at 12,130.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> advanced 13.78 points, or 1.06 percent, to finish at 1,319.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 43.15 points, or 1.58 percent, to close at 2,781.05.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Greg Mahlich)