* Banks to be in focus as Citigroup reports results
* S&P coming off worst week since June on bearish earnings
* Futures bolstered by hopes of Spain asking for aid
* Futures up: Dow 46 pts, S&P 6.7 pts, Nasdaq 17 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Oct 15 U.S. stock index futures
pointed to a higher open on Monday as Citigroup climbed
following its earnings results and strong retail sales data
further lifted sentiment.
Growing hopes that Spain would soon request a bailout also
lifted sentiment, indicating a rebound from last week, which was
the S&P's worst since June. Spain officially asking for aid is
seen as a necessary step for dealing with the region's debt
Citigroup Inc rose 2.4 percent to $35.59 in premarket
trading after posting adjusted earnings that surged from the
prior year and beat expectations. The growth came as mortgage
lending increased and capital markets results rebounded.
September retail sales rose 1.1 percent, above the 0.8
percent growth that had been anticipated. The news offset a read
on New York state manufacturing, which came in below forecasts.
"This paints a very good picture for the holiday season,"
said Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at the BlackBay Group
in New York, adding what while the manufacturing number was
disappointing, "consumers are such an important part of the
economy that everyone will be focusing on retail sales" in
S&P 500 futures rose 7.1 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 60
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 19 points.
The S&P 500 closed right above its 50-day moving average of
1,428.38 on Friday, and that level may continue to serve as
Profits of S&P 500 companies are seen dropping 3 percent
this quarter from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.
That would represent the first decline in three years and
reflects the impact of China's slowing growth and Europe's debt
With only 6 percent of S&P companies having reported, 59
percent of companies have topped profit expectations - less than
the average beat rate of 67 percent for the past four quarters,
according to Thomson Reuters data. Half of companies have beaten
on revenue, while a quarter missed profit forecasts.
Bank results have been in focus after JPMorgan Chase & Co
and Wells Fargo & Co sparked concern about
shrinking profit margins for big lenders.
Spain could ask for financial aid from the euro zone next
month, euro zone officials said, and if it does, the request
would likely be dealt with alongside a revised loan program for
Greece and a bailout for Cyprus in one big package. Spain's
requesting help is viewed as a critical step for resolving the
region's debt crisis.
"When Spain does request help, that will take another risk
out of the market and give some positive pull," said Robert
Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC in New
Sprint-Nextel Corp rose 2.8 percent to $5.89 in
premarket trading after Japanese mobile operator Softbank Corp
said it would buy up to 70 percent of the company for
$20.1 billion. Reports on the deal based on sources led to steep
gains in Sprint and its biggest-ever volume on Thursday.
U.S shares fell on Friday, with the S&P down for its fifth
of the past six sessions, pressured by bank results.