Investors have been broadly pleased by the latest batch of corporate earnings results.
Shares of Merck (Fortune 500) edged up before the opening bell after the drug maker reported better-than-expected sales and profit, even though they slumped compared to the year-ago quarter. ,
Burger King ( reported an increase in sales and earnings, compared to a year ago. )Apple (Fortune 500) and , Herbalife ( are due to report in the afternoon. )
Stocks have also found recent support on hopes of continued stimulus from the Federal Reserve. The Fed has a policy meeting this week and is widely expected to say it will continue buying $85 billion in bonds and mortgage-backed securities a month. This unprecedented liquidity has buoyed equity markets around the world.
On the economic front Monday, the Census Bureau will release its monthly report on industrial production at 9:15 a.m. ET, and the National Association of Realtors publishes its monthly report on pending home sales.
European markets were lower in morning trading.
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