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Stock Futures Point to Higher Open

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were tracking advances in overseas markets and pointing to a higher open on Wall Street even amid sequestration deadline concerns and pending results of Italy's elections.

"There is some nervousness from investors that the voting patterns may produce either a hung parliament or a weak government," said Paul Donovan, global economist at UBS. "This might limit Italy's ability to help with euro reform."

Congress reconvenes in Washington this week, and a deal to avert $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that are set to kick in on March 1 is looking increasingly unlikely.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 50 points, or 52.43 points above fair value, at 14,031. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 6 points, or 6.85 points above fair value, at 1521. Futures for the Nasdaq was were higher by 17.25 points, or 16.37 points above fair value, at 2753.

Major U.S. equity indices rallied Friday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average erased losses from two consecutive losing sessions. Stocks also got a lift from Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) promising earnings.

At 10:30 a.m. EST, the Dallas Federal Reserve releases its general business activity index for February. The reading came in at 5.5 in January.

At 7 p.m., Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhard speaks, in Knoxville, Tenn., on the economic outlook.

Gold for April delivery was surging $16.60 at $1,589.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while April crude oil futures were up 95 cents at $94.08 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 6/32, raising the yield to 1.987%. The dollar was down 0.38%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

Overseas markets traded higher Monday amid talk that Haruhiko Kuroda, currently president of the Asian Development Bank, is tipped to become the Bank of Japan's next governor and would likely push for aggressive monetary easing.

The FTSE in London was rising 0.59% and the DAX in Frankfurt increased 2.35%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed up 0.17% and the Nikkei Average in Japan finished ahead by 2.43%.

According to Thomson Reuters, of the 438 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date for the fourth quarter of 2012, 70% have reported earnings above analysts' expectations. This is higher than the long-term average of 62% and higher than the average over the past four quarters of 65%.

Barnes & Noble (BKS) Chairman Leonard Riggio notified the company's board that he plans to propose to buy all assets of the retail business of Barnes & Noble, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Shares were surging more than 13% in premarket trading.

Home-improvement retailer Lowe's (LOW) posted fourth-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share on revenue of $11 billion, beating the average analyst earnings estimate of 23 cents a share on revenue of $10.84 billion amid demand created by recovery efforts in the wake of superstorm Sandy. However, the company predicted full-year earnings of $2.05 a share, missing the consensus expectation of $2.10 a share. Shares were up 0.61%.

Knight Capital Group (KCG), which is being acquired by Getco LLC, plans to sell its credit-brokerage unit to Stifel Financial (SF), Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Hertz Global (HTZ) forecast full-year earnings of $1.82 to $1.92 a share on revenue of $10.85 billion to $10.95 billion, above the average analyst estimate of earnings of $1.78 a share on revenue of $10.79 billion. Shares were popping more than 5%.

The company posted fourth-quarter 33 cents a share on revenue of $2.3 billion, beating earnings estimates of 31 cents a share on revenue of $2.24 billion amid improving pricing during the quarter.

Google's (GOOG) Android unit has been negotiating with music companies to start a paid subscription music-streaming service similar to Spotify AB, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Cooper Tire & Rubber (CTB) posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.15 a share on revenue of $1.1 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of 85 cents a share on revenue of $1.03 billion amid successful product launches. The company said it has been diversifying its channel and product mix for light-vehicle tires and expanding volumes in the truck-bus radial tire segment. Shares were up nearly 5%.

Dynavax Technologies (DVAX) shares were plunging more than 29% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the company's hepatitis B vaccine Heplisav , citing the need for additional safety data in healthy adults.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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