Futures pointed to a flat to slightly higher open for Wall Street on Monday as a new week brings another heavy dose of corporate earnings, following the first weekly loss in three for the U.S. stock market's major averages.
Dow component Verizon helped keep futures positive, posting a profit of 60 cents a share that narrowly topped analyst estimates. Shares gained 1.9 percent in premarket trading.
Banking stocks, though, could be a drag on the indexes after Rochdale Securities analyst Richard Bove downgraded three of the industry's bigger names.
Bove cut SunTrust and Fifth Third Bancorp to sell from neutral and knocked US Bancorp down to neutral. SunTrust shares dropped 2.3 percent premarket.
On the flip side, Novatel Wireless shares jumped 5.4 percent after Barron's said the company's shares could move toward $20 due to sales from a new Wi-Fi network device.
And Terradata shares gained 4 percent after Barron's said the company could hit $52 if revenue growth hits expectations.
And Legg Mason shares rose 2 percent on news that Nelson Peltz will be elected to the company's board, a move that will avoid a proxy fight. Peltz owns Trian Fund Management, which holds about 4.3 percent of Legg Mason's shares. He agreed that he would not accumulate more than 9.9 percent for the next two years.
As October draws to a close, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq remain on track for their eighth consecutive monthly gains and their best yearly gains since 2003.
Companies of note reporting earnings this morning: Corning; McGraw-Hill; and RadioShack; Tellabs.
A relatively light economic calendar today, with no major economic stats on the docket, but the Treasury will be auctioning $7 billion in TIPS, with results available shortly after 1 pm New York time. It's the start of a record $123 billion in auctions this week.
Legg Mason could be a stock to watch, with activist investor Nelson Peltz to be elected to the board on Monday. His Trian Fund Management owns 4.3 percent of Legg Mason, and the move is part of an agreement that will avoid a proxy fight over the next few years. Trian has agreed not to accumulate more than 9.9 percent during that time.
A newly released survey by the National Association for Business Economics says U.S. companies expect to hire more people and invest more during the next six months, the most optimistic this NABE survey has been in a year.
Capmark Financial Group has filed for bankruptcy protection in a sign of ongoing turbulence in the real estate market. Capmark is one of the largest U.S. commercial real estate lenders.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk