U.S. Stock Futures Point to a Higher Start

Notwithstanding concerns over sequester coming into effect in case lawmakers in Washington fail in next 5 days to reach a budget deal and the outcome of Italian general elections, U.S. stock futures edged higher on Monday, tracking Asian and European equities.

At last check, futures on Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 0.38%; those on NASDAQ 100 climbed 0.82% while futures on S&P 500 Index edged up 0.56%.

Shares of Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) gained in premarket trading. Although the Company’s guidance on the current fiscal year fell short of Street’s estimate, its fourth-quarter earnings, on adjusted basis, edged past analysts’ expectation.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ) reported better than expected fiscal fourth-quarter results on Monday. The Company reported non-GAAP earnings of 33 cents a share on revenue of $2.32 billion. Analysts’ consensus estimate was for earnings of 31 cents a share.

No major U.S. economic data is scheduled to be released on Monday.

Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) are likely to remain under spotlight. According to the Wall Street Journal, Company’s Chairman and largest shareholder, Leonard Riggio, is contemplating to buyout bookseller’s consumer chain division, might consider splitting company into two separate public traded companies.

The ballot in Italy closes on Monday at 9 a.m. EST and market participants will closely keep an eye on the outcome of elections. In case, Italians vote against Mario Monti, the architect behind country’s reform programs and austerity measures then investors’ confidence might get shaky.

At last check, the Stoxx 600 gained 0.35%, FTSE 100 edged up 0.35% while DAX leaped 2.21%.

Elsewhere in Asia, all leading benchmark indexes closed higher with Nikkei 225 jumping 2.43%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng adding 0.17%.

In some other markets, crude oil futures gained 1.12% to $94.17 a barrel while gold futures for April delivery climbed 1.20% to $1,591.70 an ounce.

edliston

edliston

Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.