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Futures Fall Ahead of Earnings Season

U.S. stock index futures declined ahead of the open Monday in the wake of the strongest week for the major averages in almost a year and ahead of the start of a new earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq remain lower for the year despite last week's rally.

European stocks struggled to find direction as weak mining and banking shares pulled the market lower. Asian stocks managed modest gains after Wall Street's strong performance.

Earnings season gets underway in earnest Monday with Dow component Alcoa reporting after the closing bell. The latest quarterly numbers from railroad operator CSX will also be released.

Monday's calendar contains no economic data, but it does have a number of speeches from Federal Reserve officials. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at a Washington conference at 10 am New York time. Bernanke's speech will focus on restoring credit flow to small business.

Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke will speak at the same conference later in the day, at 5:15 pm. Separately, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker will make the opening remarks at a Richmond event at 9 am.

The Treasury will auction $35 billion in 3-year notes Monday, with results available shortly after 1 pm. The sale will be followed by auctions of $21 billion in 10-year notes Tuesday and $13 billion in 30-year bonds Wednesday.

The Senate will take up the financial regulation reform bill this week, though Democrats have not yet locked up the 60 votes needed to clear procedural hurdles. Passage of the bill, however, is considered likely.

BP said it's making progress on its new system to stem the massive Gulf oil spill, with a new containment cap being put in place. BP is also putting the cumulative cost of dealing with the spill at $3.5 billion to date, and there are reports that the company may sell some assets to raise cash.

Shares of BP were sharply higher in London trading Monday and closed in the green during New York trading Friday .

In other news, a monopoly abuse lawsuit against Apple and AT&T can continue as a class action case, according to a report from Associated Press. The suit relates to Apple's exclusive iPhone deal with AT&T's wireless unit and complaints about the quality of AT&T's network.

And Campbell Soup is due to meet with Wall Street analysts in Camden, NJ beginning at 1 pm.