Updated from 7:00 a.m. EDTPremarket futures were hinting at a higher open for U.S. stocks Monday on reports of continued international support for the financial system. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 22 points at 955 and were 13 points ahead of fair value. Nasdaq futures were higher by 24 points at 1335 and were 17 points above fair value. On Friday, stocks ended a hectic day with slight losses on record levels of volatility and the release of discouraging economic data. Although credit markets continued to thaw marginally, traders were still searching for signs of an end to the financial crisis. Over the weekend, President Bush announced plans to convene global leaders to continue to work on solutions to the credit crunch, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The crisis continued to send shocks throughout the global financial system. On Sunday, the Dutch government said it would buy a $13.4 billion stake in ING Groep ( ING) to shore up the company's balance sheet, the Associated Press reported. Credit markets were nonetheless causing wrinkles in other companies' plans. The Journal reported that General Motors' ( GM) was having trouble getting funding for a purchase of fellow automaker Chrysler. Looking at corporate earnings, Ericsson ( ERIC) announced a 28% decline in third-quarter earnings but beat analyst estimates. Oil-services firm Halliburton ( HAL) swung to a $21 million loss related to a cash settlement of convertible debt. Its income, however, reached a company record of $1 billion. Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis ( NVS) said its profit climbed 12% year over year on rising sales.
The Journal also reported that Internet portal Yahoo! ( YHOO) would probably announce layoffs, perhaps as early as Tuesday's earnings report. Merrill Lynch ( MER) also had bad news. CEO John Thain said he foresaw job cuts numbering in the thousands for the brokerage, which is slated to be bought by Bank of America ( BAC) Meanwhile, utility services firm Exelon ( EXC) offered to buy NRG Energy ( NRG) for $6.2 billion in an all-stock deal. In analyst actions, Goldman Sachs downgraded Intel ( INTC) to neutral from buy, predicting a decline in profit margins. Shifting to economic data, traders will be looking at the Conference Board's leading indicators for September. As for commodities, crude oil was climbing $1.64 to $73.49 a barrel. Gold was adding $8.10 to $795.80 an ounce. Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were falling in price. The 10-year was down 6/32 to yield 3.95%, and the 30-year was shedding 13/32, yielding 4.35%. The dollar was stronger vs. the yen and euro but softening against pound. Abroad, European exchanges including the FTSE in London and the Dax in Frankfurt were trading higher. In Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed with gains.