NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were poised to start this month better than the last with stock futures posting slight gains.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.19%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.2%, and Nasdaq futures climbed 0.06%.
Equities ended January with big losses, the worst-performing month since January 2014. The S&P 500 fell more than 4%, the Dow dropped 4.5% and the Nasdaq crumbled 3% against a backdrop of Federal Reserve uncertainty, a continuing global slowdown, mixed earnings, and declining oil prices.
Exxon Mobil (XOM) was up 1.8% after beating fourth-quarter profit expectations. The oil giant earned $1.56 a share over the quarter, 22 cents higher than expected, though revenue plummeted more than 20% as oil prices sank.
Personal incomes gained 0.3% month on month in December, in line with expectations. Personal spending dropped 0.3%, slightly wider than a forecast decline of 0.2%. Investors will get a chance to see how wage growth fared in the nonfarm payrolls report for January that is due Friday. Average hourly wages fell 0.2% in December.
Asian markets closed lower with China's Shanghai Composite leading the losses with a 2.6% drop. Worrying investors, the HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers index showed China's factory activity edging to 49.7 in January, barely above the 49.6 reading in December. The measure remains just under the 50 mark that signals contraction, sparking worries over the health of the world's second-largest economy.
European markets were slightly higher. France's CAC 40 added 0.14%, Germany's DAX was up 0.34%, and London's FTSE 100 gained 0.12%.
European markets have been jittery after Greece's anti-austerity party won a presidential election last week that triggered fears the country's bailout package could be compromised. The 240 billion euro bailout, sponsored by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, expires at the end of the month.
Over the weekend, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured that the government would repay its debts and would reach a deal "soon" on new bailout package terms.
Oil was regaining the losses which occurred after 3,800 employees represented by the the United Steelworkers union went on strike for their second day after failing to agree to new labor contracts. The group accounts for 10% of U.S. refining capacity. West Texas Intermediate crude bounced 2.6% to $49.51 a barrel.
On the economic calendar Monday, personal income and personal spending for December will be released at 8:30 a.m. EST, while the ISM Index for January and December's construction spending figures will be out mid-morning.
Guess (GES) shares were down more than 1% in premarket trading after Evercore ISI downgraded the retailer to a "sell" from "hold."
Shake Shack (SHAK) shares climbed 1% before the bell, adding to Friday's explosive surge in price after the burger chain went public. The stock more than doubled to $45.90 in its market debut.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.