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Stock Futures Fall Amid Eurozone Uncertainties

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were trading lower Monday as investors awaited the remaining portion of the fourth-quarter earnings season and factory orders data, and again kept close watch of developments in the eurozone.

European political uncertainties were creeping back in as Spain's opposition Socialist Party urged Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to step down over corruption allegations. In Italy, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is experiencing mounting popularity, potentially interfering with reforms carried out by the incumbent technocrat government.

Amid the news, the yield on the Spanish 10-year bond soared to its highest level since December at 5.3%. The DAX in Frankfurt was declining 1.61% and the FTSE in London was falling 1.22%.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 81 points, or 98.79 points below fair value, at 13,849. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 8.25 points, or 9.97 points below fair value, at 1498. Futures for the Nasdaq were off 18.25 points, or 19.21 points below fair value, at 2738.

This week, 89 companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report fourth-quarter earnings, according to Thomson Reuters.

The Thomson Reuters report, released Friday evening, said that fourth-quarter 2012 earnings are now expected to grow 3.8% over the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Of the 239 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date for fourth quarter, 68% have reported earnings above analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters. This is higher than the long-term average of 62% and higher than the average over the past four quarters of 65%.

Sixty-five percent of companies have reported fourth-quarter revenue above analyst expectations. This is higher than the long-term average of 62% and higher than the average over the past four quarters of 50%, according to Thomson Reuters.

Major U.S. stock averages rose more than 1% Friday on the back of robust gains in January as traders focused on upward revisions in the latest payroll report and anticipated continued accommodative policy from the Federal Reserve in light of a lukewarm January jobs release.

The Dow broke 14,000 on Friday for first time since 2007 and logged the longest weekly win streak since the six-week period ended Aug. 17, 2012.

The U.S. economic calendar is comparatively light this week after last week's big data deluge.

The Census Bureau is expected to report at 10 a.m. EST Monday that factory orders rose 2.2% in December after being unchanged in November.

The Nikkei in Japan closed up by 0.62%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.16% on Monday.

Gold for April delivery was falling $4.60 at $1,666 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures were down $1.10 at $96.67 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 4/32, lowering the yield to 2.004%. The dollar was rising 0.46%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Yum! Brands (YUM), the owner of the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell brands, is expected by analysts Monday to post fourth-quarter earnings of 82 cents a share on revenue of $4.12 billion. Shares were down slightly in premarket trading.

Humana (HUM) posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.19 a share, beating the average Wall Street forecast of $1.07 a share as the health insurer's operating cost ratio declined. Revenue came in at $9.56 billion, versus the average expectation of $9.73 billion.

Consumer products company Clorox (CLX) is forecast to report quarterly profiit of 81 cents a share, down from 82 cents a year earlier.

Revenue is seen at $1.27 billion, up 4% from a year earlier.

Biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences (GILD) is expected by Wall Street analysts Monday to post fourth-quarter profit of 48 cents a share on revenue of $2.4 billion. Ahead of the announcement, the company said that two phase three studies of a hepatitis C treatment both met key targets and will support the regulatory filing for the drug. Shares were rising nearly 1%.

Chinese search giant Baidu (BIDU) is forecast to report quarterly earnings of $1.29 a share after the stocks markets close on Monday. Shares were down incrementally.

Chevron (CVX) was downgraded to neutral from buy at UBS on a valuation basis. Shares were down more than 1%.

Negotiations on buying out Dell (DELL) continued on the weekend, with reports saying that a deal could be achieved in a matter of days. CEO Michael Dell, private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners, and Microsoft (MSFT) are reportedly the buyers.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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