(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher opening on the Wall Street as investors weighed a set of corporate earnings reports and await economic readings.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 19 points to 13,967. The Nasdaq futures advanced 7.75 points to 2,769. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 3.10 points to 1,520.20.
At 10 am ET, the National Association of Home Builders' market sentiment index is expected to show a reading of 48 for February after a January reading of 47.
Other reports of interest due to be released over the week include: the FOMC minutes, the housing starts,existing home sales, data on consumer and producer price inflation, the Conference Board's leading economic indicators and the weekly jobless claims.
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Germany's economic confidence index recorded a stronger-than-expected increase to 48.2 in February, data from the Center for European Economic Research/ZEW showed.
On Friday, U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note after a report showed that Wal-Mart's monthly sales were negatively impacted by payroll tax rise. The G20 summit in Moscow and eurozone growth concerns too weighed on the sentiment. Markets were closed for a holiday on Monday.
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Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP) and OfficeMax Inc. (NYSE: OMX) are reportedly in advanced talks to merge. ODP and OMX shares jumped 28.54 percent and 21.58 percent, respectively, in premarket.
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Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT) shed 1.66 percent in premarket after the company posted its results for the third quarter and backed its 2013 guidance.
Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) rose 4.28 percent in premarket after the company posted better-than-expected quarterly results.
Windstream Corp. (NASDAQ: WIN) gained 3.02 percent in premarket after the company swung to a quarterly profit due to higher revenue. However, on a pro forma basis, results missed Wall Street expectations.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) reports its quarterly numbers after the market closes. The PC maker is expected to earn 39 cents for the fourth quarter on revenue of $14.12 billion.
European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX up 1.16 percent to trade at 7,716.03. France's CAC40 added 1.41 percent to trade at 3,717.63. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.53 percent to trade at 6,351.83.
Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.60 percent to end at $2,382.91. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.31 percent to end at 11,372.34. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.02 percent to close at 23,143.91. India's Sensex closed at 19,635.72, up 0.69 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures traded 0.03 percent lower at $95.83 per barrel. Gold futures inched 0.25 percent higher to $1,613.50 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro slid 0.03 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3347, and the British pound fell 0.01 percent to 1.5463. The dollar dropped 0.49 percent against the Japanese yen at 93.5000.