Wall Street eyes big earnings, dollar

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Monday, ahead of a busy week of data releases and bank results.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Earnings will also be in focus this week, with major banks and financials, like J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo and AmericanExpress reporting, and other blue chips like Intel and Johnson & Johnson. For the first time in six years, earnings are expected to decline significantly, with a 2.9 percent drop seen in S&P 500 net income, according to Thomson Reuters.

Commerce Bancshares posted earnings of 61 cents a share, versus the prior quarter's 62 cents a share. The financials services firm also posted a decline in net income from the previous quarter and the first quarter last year.

The waves of corporate reports comes amid persistent dollar strength. The dollar index against a basket of currencies gained 1.8 percent last week to just over 99.30 and is expected to test new resistance levels in coming weeks.

Ahead of several Federal Reserve speakers later in the week, The Lindsey Group's Peter Boockvar noted the rise in Treasury yields.

The 2-year note yield traded near 0.57 percent and the 10-year note yield rose as high as 1.98 percent.

"In the FOMC minutes released last week, they said 'Further improvement in the labor market, a stabilization of energy prices, and a leveling out of the FX value of the dollar were all seen as helpful in establishing confidence that inflation would turn up,'" Boockvar said in a morning note. "We know the labor market has improved, oil prices are at the same level seen 3 months ago and thus reflecting 'stabilization' and we'll see what the U.S. dollar does on this retest of its recent highs."

Oil extended gains after last week's rig count showed a slowdown in U.S. drilling. Crude rose above $52 a barrel and brent traded juts below $59 a barrel.

Meanwhile, European equities were lower in morning trade on Monday as investors paused for breath and digested fresh economic data from China, after stellar gains last week.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, with GE news boosting the Dow to over 18,000 for the first time in April as investors looked ahead to the official start of earnings season next week.

In U.S. corporate news, Sears struck a 50/50 joint venture deal with Simon Property, designed to unlock the real estate value in the 10 properties it will contribute to the venture. The news follows a similar deal with another mall operator, General Growth Properties, earlier this month.

Apple Watch customers will have to wait longer than expected for delivery, with Apple having pushed back shipping times to May and June after the new product saw a surge in orders. A Bank of America report estimates Apple will ship about four million Apple Watches during the June quarter.

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Pandora gained after a Wall Street Journal report said rival Spotify was near a deal to raise $400 million in a round that values it at $8.4 billion.

CNBC's Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.