Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to a higher opening Monday ahead of pending home sales data and a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.33 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.37 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.47 percent.

The National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator that looks at contracts signed for existing homes, is due to be released after the markets open and is expected to show a 1 percent rise in February compared with a 2.0 percent gain in January.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on A View From the Fed before the National Association for Business Economics 2012 Economic Policy Conference at 1200 GMT.

On the earnings front, Cal-Maine is expected to report third quarter net profit of $1.02 per share before the markets open Monday. Apollo Group Inc is projected to report the second quarter net profit of $0.37 per share after the closing bell.

European stock markets advanced after German business sentiment improved for the fifth consecutive month in March. Markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 24.27 points, DAX30 up by 38.90 points and CAC 40 up by 1.84 points.

According to a monthly survey carried out by the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research, business sentiment in the largest Eurozone economy rose to 109.8 in March from a slightly upwardly revised reading of 109.7 in February. Economists had expected a reading of 109.6.

Asian stock markets ended with modest gains in lackluster trade as concerns over the economic slowdown in China weighed on the sentiment.

Crude oil futures declined 0.25 percent to $106.60/barrel ahead and gold futures fell 0.08 percent.