NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
A continued decline in oil prices and some strength overseas were likely to lift U.S. stocks at the open Monday, even as the Wall Street community mourns the passing of one of its heroes, former President Ronald Reagan.
Early Monday, Nasdaq and S&P futures were sharply higher.
The New York Stock Exchange will begin trading two minutes later than usual Monday as market participants commemorate Reagan, who died Saturday on pneumonia at his home in California at age 93.
Crude futures continued to back off the record highs set last week, with the downward momentum that was triggered by OPEC's decision to raise production quotas. In electronic trading early Monday, U.S. light crude slipped 55 cents to $37.94 a barrel, while Brent oil futures dropped 55 cents to $35.12 a barrel in London.
Reflecting optimism about oil, and a sense among some participants that the U.S. economy is on the mend, Asian-Pacific stocks rallied Monday; Tokyo's Nikkei index posted its biggest point gain of the year with its 2.8 percent advance. European markets were higher in early trading. (Check the latest on world markets)
The dollar fell to a two-month low against the euro and was broadly lower against the yen.
For details of Friday's session, click above.
U.S. stocks rose Friday on strength in the May jobs report, an easing of oil futures and a cheery forecast from No. 1 chipmaker Intel. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent, finishing higher for the week, while a 0.9 percent gain for the Nasdaq composite index couldn't push it into positive territory for the holiday-shortened week (see chart for details).
Among U.S. stocks trading in Europe, Time Warner (TWX: Research, Estimates) was 1 percent higher. The media company, parent of CNN/Money, saw its "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" take in $93 million in its opening weekend, a record for the franchise of films about the British boy wizard.
Treasury prices fell in early trading, sending the 10-year note yield up to 4.79 percent from 4.77 percent late Friday.
In corporate news, casino operator MGM Mirage (MGG: Research, Estimates) made an unsolicited $4.85 billion bid for rival Mandalay Resort Group (MBG: Research, Estimates) late Friday. The deal would create the largest U.S. casino operator, one which would control about a third of the properties on the Las Vegas Strip.
The $68 per share cash offer would pay Mandalay shareholders a premium of 12.8 percent over Friday's close. Shares of Mandalay had already gained $5.65 to $60.27 in Friday trading after it report a quarterly profit late Thursday that nearly doubled year earlier results and soundly topped analysts' forecasts. Shares of MGM Mirage gained $1.50 to $46.03 in Friday trading.
UAL (UALAQ: Research, Estimates), the parent of United Airlines, asked a Chicago bankruptcy judge Friday to extend by three months to Sept. 30 its exclusive right to file a reorganization plan. But the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees it needs to emerge from bankruptcy faces new trouble.
At 3 p.m. ET, the government will report on consumer credit levels in April. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com forecast that debt levels fell to $5.5 billion from $5.7 billion in March.