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US stock-index futures decline as Wall Street readies for earnings

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a weak start to Wall Street trade on Monday, as investors readied for quarterly earnings that will begin in earnest this week.

Beam surged after Japan's Suntory Holdings said it would acquire the maker of Jim Bean and Maker's Mark bourbons for $83.50 a share in cash. Lululemon Athletica slid after the sportswear retailer cut its profit and sales outlook for the fourth quarter. Symantec fell after Morgan Stanley advised investors sell shares of the anti-virus software manufacturer.

Attention now turns to corporate profits as fourth-quarter earnings season gathers steam this week, with the likes of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Intel and General Electric due to report. No major reports are expected on Monday, however.

"After last week's lackluster start to U.S. earnings season, courtesy of Alcoa, the attention will shift to this week's earnings flow from the major U.S. banks," said Jim Reid and Anthony Ip of Deutsche Bank in a research note on Monday.

"The commentary from the major commercial banks will also be watched closely, particularly given the backdrop of rising rates in fourth quarter last year."

(Read more: Target CEO defends delay to disclose data breach)

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Monday will also be a quiet day for economic reports, with the Federal budget for December out at 2 p.m. ET.

In addition, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart will speak on the economy at 12:40 p.m.

Japanese shares were closed on Monday for a public holiday, while China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index closed at a five-month low after the Chinese government announced new measures to control the initial public offering (IPO) market.

Shares were mostly higher in Europe, boosted by banking sector gains after global regulators agreed to ease new rules on the amount of debt that lenders could hold.

(Read More: Banks win big concessions on leverage rule)

On Friday, stocks ended mixed with Wall Street not sure what to make of December's dismal payrolls report, given how far off it was from expectations and other economic reports that signaled an improving labor market.

Just 74,000 new jobs were created in December, the lowest reading since January 2011 and well below estimates for a 200,000 gain.

(Read more: US jobs numbers plucked from 'thin air': Gartman)

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato

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