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Stocks Headed for Small Bounce

But weak earnings at Bank of America keep the tone guarded.

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

S&P 500

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

Financial Times

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

Dow

, S&P 500 and

Nasdaq Composite

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

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

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, 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

Ford

(F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report

, which is expected to say fourth-quarter net income amounted to just 1 cent a share and outline up to 25,000 job cuts.

American Express

(AXP) - Get American Express Company Report

will report its results around midday.

Tech stocks bore the brunt of last week's selling, with Internet leaders

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

and

Google

(GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report

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.