US stocks looked set to hand back some of last week’s gains at the open Monday as the much-anticipated bank rescue plan was delayed for another day.
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It is hoped the delay will give lawmakers time to settle their differences over a huge economic stimulus package, on which a vote is due Tuesday. Top aides to President Barack Obama urged Democratic and Republican lawmakers to set aside party politics in the hope of ensuring final approval for the plan.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is piecing together a mortgage-rescue program, which could see Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ease payments for hundreds of thousands of borrowers, Reuters reported citing sources close to the situation.
Whirlpool saw its fourth-quarter profit drop 76 percent to 60 cents per diluted share, badly missing estimates. Shares fell 4.3 percent in premarket trading.
Bank shares overall, though, were looking higher as Bank of Americasurged 7.7 percent premarket.
Also on the plus side, McDonald's shares gained about 1 percent after the fast-food giant reported a 7.1 percent global gain in same-store sales, or stores open at least 13 months.
In Europe, UK officials and the public are outraged at plans by banks that received taxpayers money to go ahead and grand bonuses. Meanwhile, Barclays , which has not received government money, reported a 2008 profit that topped expectations but still said bonuses will be halved. Traders approved of the moves, sending shares up 11 percent premarket.
NYSE Euronext missed analysts’ expectations with a 20 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit as currency fluctuations hurt the exchange operator’s bottom line.
In earnings, Beazer Homes said it narrowed its loss on less drastic writedowns, but its loss of $2.08 a share was still slightly worse than analysts expected.
Pfizer shares gained about 1 percet premarket after UBS upgraded the company's shares to "buy" from "neutral."
General Motors looked set to fire up to 5,000 salaried employees in an attempt to cut costs before a deadline of March 31, in order to keep $13.4 billion of government money, according to a Bloomberg report.
But, the ongoing problems with the auto-sector aren’t limited to Detroit as Nissan Motorposted a sharp quarterly loss and warned the whole year could result in a loss.
In other news, Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher will take to the stage at 8:30 pm in Huston, Texas to talk perspectives on the financial crisis.