NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were signaling a higher start for Wall Street Monday on optimism that U.S. lawmakers can reach a deal to resolve the looming fiscal cliff.

President Obama met with the top leaders of the House and Senate on Friday for initial discussions on ways to avert the combination of tax rate increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.

European stocks were mostly higher while Asian shares ended Monday's trading session with gains. Japan's Nikkei 22 index rose 1.4% to close at 9,153.20.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Monday includes the existing-home sales report from the National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. EST.

U.S. stocks on Friday finished higher as investors were cheered by positive commentary coming out of initial fiscal cliff discussions between Obama and congressional leaders.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 46 points, or 0.37%, to close at 12,588. The blue-chip index snapped a four-day losing streak and ended the week down 1.77%. For the year, the Dow is up 3.03%.

Cisco Systems ( CSCO), the networking giant, announced Sunday it was buying cloud computing company Meraki for $1.2 billion.

Meraki, based in San Francisco, will form Cisco's new Cloud Networking group, which will be led by Meraki CEO Sanjit Biswas.

News Corp ( NWSA) is expected to announce this week that it will acquire a 49% in the YES Network from the New York Yankees and its partners, according to Reuters, which cited a person with knowledge of the talks.

The deal would value the sports channel at $3 billion, Reuters said.

Citigroup ( C) agreed to pay $360 million to the brokerage estate of Lehman Brothers to resolve a fight over $1 billion that Lehman deposited at Citigroup the week that Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection during the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Lowe's ( LOW), the home-improvement retailer, is expected by analysts Monday to earn 35 cents a share in the third quarter on revenue of $11.91 billion.

Rival Home Depot ( HD) last week posted a slight increase in third-quarter net income.

Earnings are also expected Monday from Urban Outfitters ( URBN), Tyson Foods ( TSN), Jack in the Box ( JACK), Krispy Kreme ( KKD), Agilent ( A) and Brocade ( BRCD).

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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