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Futures Point to Strong Gains at Open

Futures rose on Monday, helped by a gains in the European markets and after all three major averages logged their biggest four-week decline since Mar. 2009 in the previous week.

Last week, the major averages lost over 4 percent in choppy trading amid worries over a global recession in addition to the ongoing euro zone jitters.

European shares extended gains, boosted by integrated oil stocks amid hopes of an end to the conflict in Libya.

Oil prices fellas Libyan rebels captured most of the country's capital, boosting hopes the OPEC nation's oil exports could resume soon.

Meanwhile goldsurged more than 1 percentto another all-time high, as investors fled to the commodity as a safe-haven play amid fears of another U.S. recession and the euro zone's ongoing debt crisis.

At the end of the week, all eyes will be on Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke as he makes his widely-anticipated speech at the Fed's annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming symposium. Investors will watch for any signs of a possible round of asset purchases (also known as quantitative easing) which will likely help bolster the stock market.

Lowe's gained after the home-improvement retailer authorized a $5 billion share repurchase program and also set a regular quarterly dividend of 14 cents a share.

About 45,000 Verizon employees that had been on strike are expected to return to work as the wireless company has reached an agreement for bargaining with unions.

While there are no major economic news for the day, investors will await new home sales figures, durable goods orders data and GDP numbers throughout the week.

Coming Up This Week:

TUESDAY: New home sales, Richmond Fed Business Activity Survey, 2-Yr Note Auction; Earnings from Heinz
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, durable goods orders, oil inventories, 5-yr note auction; Earnings from Toll Brothers, Applied Materials, TiVo
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims, 7-yr note auction, Medtronic shareholders mtg, USDA food prices outlook; Earnings from Hormel, Pandora
FRIDAY: GDP, corproate profits, consumer sentiment, Bernanke speaks, short-sale bans expire; Earnings from Tiffany

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