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Alcoa earnings to hit Wall Street; oil in focus

U.S. stock indexes looked set to open higher on Monday, when earnings season will kick off with numbers from industrial bellwether Alcoa.

With expectations low for earnings season, the major U.S. averages declined by more than 1 percent last week, marking the worst performance since February.

"The technical tone is weakening as the earnings season begins in earnest… and during earnings season, companies which are among the featured equity buyers are sidelined," BBH strategists led by Marc Chandler said in a note on Sunday.

Alcoa will hold a conference call at 5 p.m. ET on Monday.

European stocks traded higher, with the STOXX Europe 600 Bank index outperforming with gains of more than 1.5 percent in early morning trade ET.

Fresh reports supported hopes that the Italian government will soon form a plan to set up a state-backed fund that will buy bad loans held by the country's banks.

No major U.S. economic news is due during the day.

Oil prices are also in focus ahead of an upcoming meeting of oil-producing countries in Qatar at the weekend that could see output levels frozen. U.S. crude reversed to trade nearly 1 percent higher above $40 a barrel as of 9:01 a.m. ET.

Treasury yields were slightly higher. The U.S. dollar index traded slightly lower, with the euro above $1.14 and the yen off recent highs against the dollar around 108.19 yen. Sterling was near $1.42 as of 9:01 a.m.

Stocks to watch during Wall Street trade include Yahoo, after the Wall Street Journal cited sources saying the Daily Mail & General Trust was in talks with private equity firms for a possible bid.

The newspaper also said that Yahoo had spoken to other bidders, including Verizon Communications, CBS and InterActiveCorp.

JPMorgan Chase will be the first Dow-listed stock to report this week, on Wednesday.

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