(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a lower opening on the Wall Street as investors await a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and earnings reports from major banks.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures shed 10 points to 13,420. The Nasdaq futures dipped 12.25 points to 2,731.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures slid 0.90 points to 1,466.30.
Investors keenly look ahead to a speech by Bernanke at 4.00 pm ET for any hints regarding future monetary policy.
U.S. earnings gathers steam with major banks such as Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup (C) reporting their results this week. General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) are also due to post their quarterly numbers in the unfolding week.
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There are no major U.S. economic data due for release on Monday.
On Friday, U.S. stocks closed on a flat note weighed by worries over rising inflation in China, mixed quarterly report from Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and a set of slightly downbeat domestic data.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AAPL, IBM, CSCO, HPQ, FB, RIG, FRAN, HGG
In corporate news, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) retreated 2.60 percent in premarket. The technology behemoth is reportedly slashing orders for liquid-crystal display panels by around 50 percent due to weak demand for iPhone 5.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) lost 1.05 percent in premarket. JPMorgan Chase downgraded rating on the stock to "neutral" from "overweight".
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) added 1.12 percent in premarket. R.W. Baird upgraded rating on the stock to "outperform" from "neutral".
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) gained 2.04 percent in premarket. JPMorgan Chase upgraded the stock to "neutral" from "underweight".
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) rose 1.29 percent in premarket. Deutsche Bank raised rating on the stock to "buy" from "hold".
Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) added 3.16 percent in premarket. Activist investor Carl Icahn has bought a 1.56 percent stake in the offshore rig contractor and plans to grow that holding.
Francesca's Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: FRAN) may be in focus after the operator of a chain of retail boutiques lifted its forecast for the fourth quarter citing its holiday sales and margin performance.
hhgregg Inc. (NYSE: HGG), a retailer of home appliances, cut its 2013 earnings and sales outlook citing industry wide declines in the video category.
European markets traded mixed, with Germany's DAX adding 0.44 percent to trade at 7,749.42. France's CAC40 gained 0.35 percent to trade at 3,719.12. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 dipped 0.03 percent to trade at 6,119.93.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index surged 3.06 percent to close at 2,311.74. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.64 percent to end at 23,413.26. India's BSE Sensex ended 1.23 percent higher at 19,906.41. Japan's Nikkei 225 was shut for a holiday.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures rose 0.32 percent to $93.86 per barrel. Gold futures advanced 0.69 percent to $1,671.90 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro inched 0.03 percent higher against the U.S. dollar to 1.3347, while the British pound dropped 0.48 percent to 1.6054. The dollar rose 0.16 percent against the Japanese yen to 89.3200.