Stocks were set to climb at the open Monday as a battered Wall Street attempted a modicum of recovery from the giant selloff in the previous session. S&P 500 futures were up 4 points to 1363 and were more than 2 points above fair value. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 bumped up 7 points to 1996 and were nearly 5 points ahead of fair value. Last time out, stocks were caught in a landslide as oil prices rampaged higher by more than $10 a barrel to a new record and the Labor Department said the unemployment rate jumped last month. At the end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had plummeted 395 points to 12,210, and the S&P 500 sank 43 points to 1361. The Nasdaq Composite lost 75 points to 2475. Crude oil futures remained at extraordinarily high levels in the new session, but saw a bit of profit-taking amid news that Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi has called Friday's giant gains "unjustified," according to the Saudi Press Agency. Recently, oil was off $1.94 to $136.60 a barrel. Further, the nationwide average for gas prices at the pump hit the $4 milestone on Sunday, according to AAA, and recently they were at yet another all-time high of $4.023 a gallon. Gold futures were adding $6.60 to $905.60 an ounce. The U.S. dollar lost 0.2% against the euro to $1.5797 and 0.5% to the yen at 105.58. Among companies, Lehman Brothers ( LEH) announced plans to raise $6 billion through an offering for common and preferred stock, and said it expects to post a fiscal second-quarter loss of $2.8 billion, or $5.14 a share. Word of a cash-raising and a big loss has been circulating since last week. Shares were sliding in the premarket.
Staying in the financial space, over the weekend Britain-based Willis Group, an insurance broker, inked a deal to take out U.S. rival Hilb Rogal & Hobbs ( HRH) for $46 a share, or $2.1 billion, including $400 million in debt. Elsewhere on the corporate front, Apple ( AAPL) will be in focus at the kickoff of the company's annual developers' conference, which many believe will serve to unveil a new 3G-enabled iPhone. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission may recommend this week that the major credit-rating agencies -- Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings -- be forbidden from advising investment banks on how to achieve high-end rankings for their asset-backed securities, according to people familiar with the matter. The lone item on the economic docket is the April pending-home sales report from the National Association of Realtors, due out at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists are expecting a 1% decline, the same as in March. As for Treasury prices, the 10-year note slipped 6/32 in price to yield 3.93%, and the 30-year bond ticked up 3/32 in price, yielding 4.62%. Markets abroad were for the most part weaker. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 plunged 2.1% overnight, and Taiwan's main index dropped 1.8%. Hong Kong and China were closed. Among European bourses, London's FTSE 100 was down 0.2%, while Frankfurt's Xetra Dax lost 0.1%. The Paris Cac, however, was better by 0.2%.