* Retail sales, Empire State manufacturing on tap
* Futures up: Dow 43 pts, S&P 2.8 pts, Nasdaq 7.5 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 16 U.S. stock index futures
advanced o n Monday ahead of retail sales data, indicating the
S&P 500 may climb after suffering its worst weekly decline of
The benchmark index fell 2 percent last week and lost 2.7
percent over the past two weeks, its worst two-week slide since
November, on increasing concerns about the euro-zone debt crisis
and weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data.
The Commerce Department releases March retail sales at 8:30
a.m. (1230 GMT). Economists expect a 0.3 percent rise in sales,
compared with a 1.1 percent increase in February. Excluding
automobiles, sales are expected to have risen 0.6 percent versus
a 0.9 percent increase in February.
"The longer-term integrity of the market remains bullishly
intact. However, additional behavior as we have seen could
compromise that," said Andre Bakhos, director of market
analytics at Lek Securities in New York.
"The market will key on economic releases such as today's
retail sales to gauge the strength of the consumer. Good numbers
will certainly assuage recent concerns after the weak employment
Also at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), the New York Federal Reserve
releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for April.
Economists expect a reading of 18.00, compared with 20.21 in
Citigroup INC will be in focus. Wall Street expects
the bank will earn about $1 per share, unchanged from the
year-ago period. Citi shares were up 1.4 percent to $33.88 in
premarket ahead of the results.
Earnings season will pick up steam this week, with 86 S&P
500 companies scheduled to report results. According to Thomson
Reuters data, of the 32 companies in the S&P 500 that have
reported results to date for the first quarter of 2012, 75
percent have reported earnings above analyst expectations.
The Commerce Dept. issues business inventories data for
February at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). The market expects a 0.6
percent rise, versus a 0.7 percent increase in January.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.8 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 gained 43
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 7.5 points.
Mattel Inc, the world's largest toy company, said
first-quarter net income fell to $7.8 million, or 2 cents per
share, from $16.6 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier.
Mattel shares were down 5.5 percent to $32.24 in pre-market
Jury selection in a high-stakes dispute over smartphone
technology between Oracle Corp and Google Inc
is set to begin on Monday morning, kicking off a trial in which
both companies' chief executives are set to take the stand.
Russian state oil firm Rosneft and U.S. Exxon
Mobil Corp will sign a wide-ranging strategic
partnership later on Monday at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin's residence, sources familiar with the matter told
European shares advanced, with a strong start to the U.S.
earnings season helping them rebound after recent falls even as
investors remained cautious about the outlook for Spain ahead of
a bond auction this week.
Asian shares and the euro fell on Monday as a surge in
Spanish government bond yields renewed concerns about Europe's
sovereign debt crisis and undermined investor appetite for