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Futures Stall Ahead; Housing News Looms

U.S. stock index futures edged higher ahead of the open Monday in the wake of a strong close for Wall Street on Friday and ahead of fresh data on the housing sector.

The major averages have risen for four of the past five sessions, highlighted by two consecutive triple-digit gains for the Dow on Thursday and Friday. Last week's gains put the Dow within a few points of breakeven for 2010, and July is now on track for the biggest monthly gains for the major averages since July 2009.

European shares were flat to slightly lower Monday as investors digested the impact of Friday's European Union bank stress-test results. One analyst told CNBC that the tests were a missed opportunity and banks should have been forced to raise capital. Asian shares ended mixed, but mostly higher.

On the economic front, the government will issue the June report on new home sales at 10 am New York time, a number that will be followed especially closely following a May plunge of 32.7 percent.

The day's earnings calendar is extremely light in comparison to the rest of the week, which sees 157 S&P 500 companies report numbers, including five Dow components.

In other news, BP shares were higher in London trading amid speculation about whether CEO Tony Hayward is about to lose his job. Multiple reports said Hayward will be stepping down, but the latest statement issued by the company says Hayward remains CEO and has the full confidence of the Board and senior management. US-traded shares of BP gained 2.5 percent in premarket trading.

Ford begins a high-profile marketing campaign Monday for the redesigned Ford Explorer, which the automaker hopes to be the symbol of a new generation of fuel-efficient SUVs. Ford shares edged higher premarket.

And Sony likely returned to profitability in the April through June quarter, according to a report from Japan's Nikkei.

Oil prices surrendered some of their gainsfrom last week in the anticipation of heavy weekend storms. Treasurys were higher, with the 10-year yield at 2.99 percent. The US dollar edge loweragainst a basket of foreign currencies.

- Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed to this report.