Stocks: More earnings on deck

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Stocks were headed for a modestly higher start to the week, as investors parsed through another batch of earnings early Monday.

U.S. stock futures were up slightly.

Caterpillar (CAT), considered a bellwether for the global economy because of its size and reach, missed earnings and revenue forecasts. The mining and construction equipment maker also trimmed its earnings outlook for the year, citing a slowdown in mining.

Meanwhile, oil services firm Halliburton (HAL) handily beat earnings and revenue estimates.

Netflix (NFLX), which is hoping for a boost from its "House of Cards" video series, is on deck to report after the close.

Analysts expect earnings for S&P 500 companies to rise by 2% for the first quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ. But earnings season is far from over. So far, 104 S&P 500 companies have reported, with 70 beating forecasts, 23 missing and 11 coming in in line.

Aside from earnings, shares of Power One Inc. (PWER) surged more than 50% after Swiss company ABB (ABB) agreed to buy the solar power company in a $1 billion deal.

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Investors will also get another glimpse into the health of the housing market Monday, when the National Association of Realtors releases the latest data on existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET. Housing reports have been somewhat mixed lately, giving investors reason to pause.

Gold may be back in the spotlight. After last week's rout, the precious metal was up 2%, to $1,428.30 an ounce. That helped push the SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) ETF up nearly 4%, and shares of gold miner Randgold (GOLD) spiked 2%.

U.S. stocks finished higher Friday, though all three major indexes suffered their worst week of the year so far, dropping more than 2%.

European markets were higher in morning trading, supported by hopes that Italy may soon have a new government after President Giorgio Napolitano was elected for a second term. Asian markets were mixed, with the Shanghai Composite declining 0.1% and the Hang Seng adding 0.1%.

Japan's Nikkei rose 1.9% and the yen fell to almost 100 against the U.S. dollar after the G-20 gave its blessing to Japan's new monetary policy experiment.

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