Greece Lifts Futures; Earnings Season Starts

The stock markets looked set to start the week higher, with stock index futures comfortably above fair value Monday following the euro zone’s agreement of a new aid package for Greece.

Wall Street's major averages are coming off six straight weeks of gains, and the Dow finally managed to crack the 11,000 mark on Friday, although it failed to finish above that level.

The new European Union/IMF aid package helped boost bank shares in Greece, but the broader European markets were little changed in morning trading.

For Wall Street, the biggest area of concentration is earnings, with Dow component Alcoa set to kick off earnings season after the closing bell. That's the only earnings report of note, and the economic calendar is similarly small.

Investors were bracing for good news from Alcoa, sending the aluminum giant's shares up about 1 percent in premarket trading.

The only statistic scheduled for release is the federal budget statement for March. Economists see the March budget deficit at $62 billion, compared with a $191.6 billion dollar deficit in March 2009.

Power producer Mirant is a stock to watch, as it agrees to take over rival RRI Energy . The deal creates one of the largest independent U.S. power producers. Mirant shares jumped 12 percent premarket while Mirant advanced 8 percent.

Teen retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hot Topic will also be worth watching, as Barron's says stocks in that category may be overvalued at current prices.

Reports say AIG realized a loss of up to $2 billion last year, as its Financial Products unit unwound most of its remaining trades with Goldman Sachs. AIG shares gained 1 percent premarket.

Also in financials, Citigroup shares gained more than 1 percent after CEO Vikram Pandit said
the bank is looking to cut 40 percent of its assets from their peak before the financial crisis as the company looks to return to its banking roots.

UBS said it will realize a first-quarter profit of at least $2.38 billion, higher than expected, and said outflows from clients are slowing. UBS shares gained 4.2 percent.
Palm has risen over the past week or so on renewed takeover speculation, and that could continue today as Bloomberg reports that Palm is seeking bids for the company as early as this week. Shares rose 10.3 percent premarket.

- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.