NEW YORK – Stock index futures rose slightly on Monday, indicating the S&P 500 may recover after the worst one-day decline since late June as investors looked for direction from the latest earnings and company outlooks.
The benchmark S&P index fell 1.7 percent on Friday, the biggest daily drop since June 21, after General Electric and McDonald's , both barometers of the economy, reported disappointing earnings.
Before Monday's open, heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar slipped 1.1 percent to $82.96 it reduced its revenue and profit outlook for 2012. Quarterly profit rose nearly 50 percent, partly due to higher U.S. sales and price increases. ID:nL1E8LJ69Y]
"Today's early futures action is a reaction to a substantial shock lower on Friday and within the band of expectations, given the magnitude of the move," said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York.
"Earnings will remain a driving force. As earnings go, so goes the market, given a lack of a substantial news stream from the euro zone and economic data."
S&P 500 futures rose 3.8 points and were roughly even with 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 37 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11.5 points.
Ancestry.com Inc jumped 7.9 percent to $31.49 in premarket trading after the company said it will be acquired by a group led by Europe-based private equity firm Permira in a $1.6 billion deal.
Global apparel group VF Corp posted a bigger quarterly profit as its outdoor and action sports segment continued to do well, and margins rose.
SunTrust Banks Inc's third-quarter profit surged as the bank gained from the accelerated sale of its shares in Coca-Cola Co that produced a pre-tax gain of $1.9 billion.
Hasbro Inc , the No. 2 U.S. toy company, reported a lower quarterly profit on Monday, hurt by a fall in sales in its boys and preschool product lines.
Along with Caterpillar Inc and Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc , earnings reports are expected from Yahoo Inc , Peabody Energy Corp and Texas Instruments Inc .
According to Thomson Reuters data through Friday, of the 106 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings, 62 percent have topped analysts' expectations, matching the average since 1994 but below the 67 percent average over the past four quarters. Earnings are expected to fall 1.8 percent in the third quarter from a year ago.
But top-line expectations have dampened investor optimism, with 58 percent of companies having missed on revenue expectations.
Rosneft announced a two-part deal worth around $55 billion that gives British oil company BP a stake of 19.75 percent in the state-controlled Russian energy firm and two seats on the board, and offers an exit for the TNK-BP's other shareholders AAR, as well. U.S.-listed shares of BP shed 0.3 percent to $42.96 in premarket.
U.S. agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland has bid $2.8 billion for GrainCorp , sending shares in Australia's last independent grains handler soaring, as markets bet on a higher offer price or rival bids being flushed out.
European stocks pared early losses and turned slightly positive as renewed expectations that Spain was moving closer to seeking a bailout eclipsed worries over corporate results.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)
(This story corrects to show S&P fell 1.7 percent on Friday, not 2.2 percent)