Stock futures pointed to a slightly firmer open for Wall Street on Monday, as the prospect of go-slow interest rate hikes offset worries about where oil prices are headed.
The S&P 500 posted the biggest weekly gain in a month last week, after nonfarm payrolls and other economic data convinced investors the Federal Reserve won't be rushing to increase interest rates and that an April hike isn't on the cards.
Oil was casting a shadow over markets on Monday, as U.S. and Brent crude prices extended losses seen late last week. Those declines came after comments by a Saudi official dampened hopes for an output-cut deal from major oil producers, who are holding a meeting later this month.
Analysts said oil may prove to be less of a hindrance for stock gains this time around.
"While oil continues to contribute to moves in the indexes, we have seen a decoupling between oil prices and indexes over the last couple of weeks which suggests it's no longer the main driver," said Craig Erlam, chief market analyst at Oanda, in emailed comments.
"Once again, loose monetary policy globally and a more dovish Fed appears to be lifting stock markets and could keep them elevated for now," he said, adding, though, that earnings season will be key over the next month, starting next week with Alcoa Inc. (AA).