Stocks set to stretch rally

Futures advance as confidence returns to investors. World markets surge on hopes of global recovery.

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By staff

Stocks: Brace for a big hit

NEW YORK( -- U.S. stocks were poised to start the week on solid footing Monday, as hopes for a global economic recovery boosted the confidence of investors worldwide.

At 7 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq 100 and Standard & Poor's 500 futures were higher.

Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

Wall Street soared Friday after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke said the economy is near a recovery and existing home sales posted their biggest jump in two years.

"At the moment, it looks like we're headed for a higher opening," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for Avalon Partners. "Certainly you can make a case for an overbought market. But the bulls have the momentum."

World markets: The upbeat mood spread overseas, with global markets rallying on Monday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei surged 3.4% and Hong Kong shares jumped nearly 2%. European markets were in positive territory in morning trading.

Economy: No major economic reports are on tap, giving investors an opportunity to mull the latest spate of readings. Last week, reports on housing and manufacturing showed surprising gains.

Oil and money: Stronger crude prices have helped support recovery hopes. On Monday, oil futures slipped 8 cents to $73.81 a barrel in electronic trading. The dollar rose against the yen, the euro and the British pound. To top of page

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