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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a solidly higher open for Wall Street Monday on the back of big gains in world markets as traders awaited preliminary results of elections in Italy.
As of 8:03 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 66 points to 14046, S&P 500 futures gained 8.3 points to 1523 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 21.8 points to 2758.
The S&P 500 posted a weekly loss for the first time this year last week as traders fretted over a potentially early end of the Federal Reserve's asset purchases. However, the broad-market barometer is still up more than 6% for the year.
The rally started Monday in Asian markets, where traders in Japan cheered a falling yen and grew more hopeful that the Bank of Japan will take on aggressive counter-deflationary policies. Then shares in Europe rallied as voters in Italy went to the polls.
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While it appears unlikely that a single party will control the government, analysts are expecting two parties to be able to form a coalition, staving off another round of elections. According to analysts at Nomura, the first round of exit polls are set to come out at roughly 9:00 a.m. ET.
Italy has come in and out of the spotlight as the country has worked to keep its debt under control while also keeping its economy from contracting further. Its bonds are widely held by banks in Europe, so major moves often ricochet into equities across the continent.
On the corporate front, Lowe's (LOW), the world's second-biggest home improvement store, revealed fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street's expectations on the top and bottom lines. Home Depot (HD), a Dow component, is out with its results on Tuesday.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said it will take a $100 million, or 4 cents per share, charge in the first quarter as a result of the Venezuelan government's decision to devalue its currency. The health-care giant said its full-year guidance won't be impacted.
The U.S. economic calendar is bare on the day, but will pick up as the week progresses. Traders will get a second look at fourth-quarter gross domestic product, several housing reports, and manufacturing data. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is also set to testify before Congress beginning on Tuesday in an event that is often closely watched.
The deadline to avert sequestration -- $85 billion in federal spending cuts -- is Friday, so market participants may also begin paying closer attention to events on Capitol Hill.
Oil rebounded after its worst week since October. The benchmark U.S. contract recently jumped $1.01, or 1.1%, to $94.14 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rallied 1.7% to $3.133 a gallon. In metals, gold soared $18.40, or 1.2%, to $1,591 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 soared 2.1% to 2686, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.67% to 6378 and the German DAX rallied 2.4% to 7840.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 surged 2.4% to 11663 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged higher by 0.17% to 22820.