Stock index futures opened higher on Sunday evening, adding to modest gains posted on the major indexes on Friday, even as the devaluation of the Chinese Yuan and ongoing chatter over a Fed rate hike unsettled markets throughout last week.
Tonight, Dow futures were up 14 points, or about 0.08% in New York, and S&P 500 E-mini futures were higher by 0.08%. Nasdaq 100 E-mini futures were up 0.12%. The U.S. Dollar Index (.DXY) was up 0.18%.
Over the weekend, Dish Network (DISH) and Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI) agreed to a short-term contract extension that would allow the satellite-TV provider to broadcast Sinclair's stations as they continued to negotiate a new retransmission agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported.
And Israel's cabinet approved a regulatory framework Sunday that will allow the stalled development of its offshore natural gas fields to resume, the Journal reported.
The plan requires the major stakeholders Noble Energy (NBL) and Israel's Delek Group to reduce their stakes in the Tamar field, which contains an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet of gas in order to maintain their stakes in the larger Leviathan field, which contains about 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, the Journal said.
Looking ahead, on Monday we'll be watching for earnings reports from Estee Lauder (EL) and Urban Outfitters (URBN). TheStreet's Jim Cramer called Estee Lauder one of the best-performing consumer stocks around and relatively inexpensive with a 30x multiple. As for Urban, the stock has come in, but Cramer still expects more bad news.
On Tuesday, we'll get another read on housing starts, which typically boosts the homebuilders over the next few days. Cramer noted both Toll Brothers (TOL) and Lennar (LEN) are still cheap. He expects good things from Home Depot (HD) and TJX Stores (TJX), but said to wait and see with Wal-Mart (WMT).
Wednesday we have earnings from Lowe's (LOW), Target (TGT), a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS, and food maker Hormel (HRL). Lowe's and Hormel aren't necessarily the best of breed, Cramer said, but can be bought if you're looking for a relatively less-risky stock. As for Target, Cramer suggested waiting for it to come down to a 3% dividend yield.
On Thursday, it's Salesforce.com (CRM) and Ross Stores (ROST) that report. Cramer is still bullish on both names.
Finally, on Friday, John Deere (DE) will report. But Cramer is wary of farm equipment companies right now, although he is bullish on Foot Locker (FL) and advised buying on any weakness.
Separately, Barron's cover story warned this weekend that China's Yuan could fall 10% or more. The Yuan continued to slide on Friday, down 0.11% against the US. dollar to 6.3912 Yuan per dollar. History suggests that China's currency devaluation won't be a one-time move, Barron's said. On the other hand, Ma Jun, chief economist at China's central bank, thinks the Yuan will probably move in both directions in the future following last week's devaluation as the economy stabilizes.
A more market-oriented pricing mechanism for the Yuan will help to avoid excessive deviation from the equilibrium level and significantly reduce the possibility of sudden fluctuations, Ma told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement on Sunday.
This matters to U.S. companies that sell to China when overseas profits are translated back into dollars. Consumer-product multinationals could be among the hardest hit. Watch out for effects on the big players like Procter & Gamble (PG), which derives about 8% of its revenue from China, Colgate Palmolive (CL) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB).
And for a stock pick, Barron's featured fertilizer company Potash (POT). Shares could rally on firmer fertilizer prices and its 5.8% dividend is generous, Barron's said. JPMorgan analyst Jeffrey Zekauskas said he thinks Potash could be worth $34 a share by the end of next year.
For even more information on data and earnings in the week ahead, read this article by fellow Realmoney contributors Lenore Hawkins and Chris Versace and reference The Street's weekly earnings calendar.