This article was updated at 8:25 a.m. ET to include Actavis earnings results and commentary.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were up Monday morning in pre-market trading, extending the market rally from Friday's session when a relatively positive nonfarm payrolls report helped the market.
Stocks closed higher Friday after it was reported that the U.S. created 223,000 jobs in April vs. the 224,000 that were expected. The S&P 500 gained 1.35%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.49% and the Nasdaq added about 1.18%.
Shares of Bojangles' (BOJA), the fried chicken and biscuit Southern chain, were up as much as 47% on Friday, blasting past its initial public offering price of $19 after it began trading on the Nasdaq. BOJA settled to close up 25% around $23.75.
Today, the Dow futures moved higher by 8 points, up about 0.04% at 7:54 a.m. in New York, with other index futures also moving to the upside. S&P 500 E-mini futures were higher by 0.04% and Nasdaq 100 E-mini futures were higher by 0.08%.
The euro fell about 0.55% against the dollar and the pound was up by 0.23%.
Over the weekend, news from abroad dominated the headlines, with Asia in focus. China cut interest rates for the third time since November as the country continued its plan to boost its sluggish economy, lowering the benchmark lending and deposit rates by 0.25 percentage point, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 3.05% after the move.
Also, the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) reportedly took a stake of more than 9% in U.S. online retailer Zulily (ZU), according to the Journal. The position has investors wondering about Alibaba's plans for the American market.
"I am beginning to think that these cuts, plus the addition of millions upon millions of self-directed brokerage accounts, is beginning to re-ignite China and I don't believe it can stay moribund that much longer," Jim Cramer said, according to a preview of his Monday Real Money column. "One day that Baltic Freight index is going to spike 10% and then you will be scrambling for the GEs (GE) and the Honeywells (HON)."
In Japan, Toyota Motor (TM) and Mazda Motor (MZDAF) are reportedly in talks to share certain technologies, sources told the Journal on Sunday, as some auto makers team up to reduce costs of developing fuel-efficient cars.
Also abroad, Greece is readying for another barrage of meetings and deadlines this week regarding its ongoing debt obligations and is expected to pay back up to $840 million to the International Monetary Fund by Tuesday.
Back in the U.S., investors are debating whether to get on board with Uber Technologies, as it plans to raise another large round of funding, sources told the Journal.
The San Francisco-based ride-sharing service has plans to raise between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in new funding, valuing the company at $50 billion or higher, the sources said.
And Charter Communications (CHTR) is in early talks with banks to arrange a debt package of $25 billion to $30 billion as it pursues a merger with the cable operator Time Warner Cable (TWC), separate sources also told the Journal.
Looking ahead, there are several important companies that have yet to report earnings this week. On CNBC's Mad Money, Jim Cramer recently told his viewers to look at Actavis (ACT), a pharmaceutical/healthcare firm that has been performing well in recent months. The stock rose nearly 2.45% in pre-market trading today after the company reported a convincing top- and bottom-line beat this morning.
Actavis is a core position for Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS, and he considers it to be perhaps the most important healthcare company out there. After Actavis beat estimates this morning, he expects everything in healthcare to rally.
"We are extremely pleased with the results and expect the stock to trade up sharply in today's trading session. We believe this quarter demonstrates why Actavis deserves not only upward earnings revisions but an upwards multiple re-rating. We will look for more commentary on the call around the Allergan integration as well as ACT's existing pipeline," AAP Research Director, Jack Mohr, added this morning.
On Tuesday, online real estate database Zillow Group (Z) reports. This report could give us insight into the interconnected and all-important real estate market. Some factors at play and to watch include the strength of traffic growth, the frequency of product launches and the growth of the Premier Agent business.
Cisco Systems (CSCO), a core position for Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS, reports Wednesday and Cramer expects that the incoming CEO Chuck Robbins will build on the momentum created by outgoing CEO John Chambers.
Retailers J.C. Penney (JCP), Macy's (M) and Ralph Lauren (RL) also report Wednesday and on Thursday, department store Kohl's (KSS) reports. Cramer said that how these companies perform may determine larger market trends, but JCP is still stuck in neutral.
The beloved burger joint Shake Shack (SHAK) serves up earnings on Wednesday, too, but with the stock surging almost 50% from its IPO earlier this year, changing hands now around $68, it's hard to tell if and when SHAK might get burnt.
"I've liked this company since it came public, but at these prices, I just can't support the stock, especially if we're going to get hit with a wave of insider selling," Cramer noted.
"I wonder whether someone might actually try to get that July lock-up expiration moved up, given the scarcity of stock currently trading," he added.
To end the week, we'll be watching the national industrial production number on Friday for any Fed triggers.
"I know that last Friday's employment report made traders feel like we don't have to worry about the Fed anytime soon, but the parlor game surrounding when they'll tighten never stops, so be ready for a whole new group of gasbags gabbing about it by the end of the week," Cramer said.