Stocks held small gains ahead of the bell Monday as bulls regrouped after the previous session's thumping. Oil eased following an overnight spike prompted by a new threat from Iran to step up nuclear research.
Index futures recently showed the
trading a point above fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 2-point gain. The 10-year Treasury bond was down 4/32 in price to yield 4.36%, while the dollar fell against the yen and euro.
Oil fell after a Saudi official downplayed the likelihood of production cuts at an OPEC meeting scheduled for next week. The newly benchmarked March contract was recently down 62 cents to $67.86 a barrel. It was briefly over $69 earlier on a
report highlighting Iran's resolve to press ahead with nuclear research.
Overseas markets were lower after Friday's carnage on Wall Street, in which the
, S&P 500 and
each had their worst single-session point decline since 2003. In Europe, the FTSE 100 was down 0.4% to 5653 while Germany's Xetra DAX fell 0.6% to 5319. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei plunged 2.2% to 15,361, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.3% to 15,465.
Disappointing earnings from a handful of blue-chip companies sent the Dow to a 213-point swoon on Friday, erasing its gain for 2006. The profit trend continued Monday morning at
Bank of America
, which said fourth-quarter earnings fell 2% from a year ago to $3.77 billion, or 93 cents a share. Adjusted earnings of 94 cents a share were a penny short of estimates.
Another report looming Monday is
, which is expected to say fourth-quarter net income amounted to just 1 cent a share and outline up to 25,000 job cuts.
will report its results around midday.
Tech stocks bore the brunt of last week's selling, with Internet leaders
both falling by percentages in the double-digits.
On Monday, Bear Stearns upgraded Yahoo! to outperform on valuation, citing the company's preeminent position in the online advertising market and solid fundamentals.