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Futures Point to Higher Open Ahead of Fed

U.S. stock index futures gained ahead of the open Monday as investors looked to comments President Barak Obama on the economy and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting Tuesday.

Stocks made lackluster gains Friday, but managed to close higher for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen for seven of the past eight sessions. The Nasdaq has gained for eight straight sessions.

European stocks were higher across the board with shares of BP gaining after the oil major confirmed it had killed the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP also said that compensation claims related to the spill had jumped since it passed control to an independent administrator. Shares of BP closed lower in New York trading Friday.

Asian stocks ended mixed with light volumes as the Japanese market was closed for a public holiday.

On the economic front, President Barak Obama will discuss the state of the economy and answer questions during a live town hall event at 12 p.m. on CNBC called Investing in America at midday (Click for more).

The Federal Open Market Committee will hold a one-day policy meeting Tuesday with market watchers hoping to gain clues on whether the central bank will introduce another round of quantitative easing.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will release its index for September.

Shares of tech analytics and data warehouse company Netezza soared in premarket trading after IBM announced it would buy the company for $1.78 billion, or $27 a share.

On the earnings front, home builder Lennar posted quarterly profits that were better than expected, thanks to orders placed before the homebuyer tax credit expired. Lennar's shares rose more than 5 percent in premarket trading.

And Discover Financial reported its third quarter net income was $261 million or 47 cents a share, down from $577 million in the same period a year earlier, when Discover recieved $287 million in after-tax dollars related to an antitrust settlement with Visa/MasterCard. Discover's shares rose more than 3 percent in the premarket.

And Dow component Verizon named Lowell McAdam, now chief executive of Verizon Wireless, as its president and chief operating officer, Reuters said. McAdam takes up the new position Oct. 1.

On Tap for Next Week:

MONDAY: NAHB housing market index; Nike shareholder meeting; Oracle Open World
TUESDAY: Housing starts; FOMC Announcement; Clinton Global Initiative; MasterCard annual meeting; Earnings from AutoZone and Adobe
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications; oil inventories; Wall Street & Washington Conference; Earnings from General Mills and Bed Bath & Beyond
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims; existing home sales; leading indicators; Chicago Fed Pres Evans speaks; Volcker speaks; FCC meeting on opening up new airwaves; Earnings from Rite Aid and Nike
FRIDAY: Durable goods orders; New home sales; Richmond Fed President Lacker speaks; Philadelphia Fed President Plosser speaks; NY Film Festival; Earnings from KB Home

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