Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

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It's the most wonderful time of the year.

After a late start, the Santa Claus rally seems to be in full swing and could push stocks higher Monday. Here are four things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Festive run continues: U.S. stock futures are all pointing higher following three consecutive days of big gains.

Markets are still drawing support from comments last week from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, who said the central bank would be very "patient" before raising interest rates.

Signs of stability in the oil market are also helping. U.S. crude futures -- which had plunged 50% in six months -- were up 1% at about $58 a barrel.

U.S. stocks rose Friday and capped off an incredible three-day rebound. The Dow gained 27 points, the S&P 500 was up 0.5%, and the Nasdaq rose by 0.4%.

2. Sony in focus: Sony (SNE) shares will be closely watched Monday after the attorney representing Sony Pictures said over the weekend that the studio is "still exploring options" for distributing the controversial film "The Interview." The shares were up 1% in Japan.

In a CNN interview on Friday, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said the studio had not "given in" to pressure from hackers and was still considering ways to distribute the movie.

3. Global stock market overview: Most major European markets gained about 1% in early trading.

In London, large oil companies are performing well, helped by higher oil prices. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) is leading the gainers with a 2.5% surge.

Over in Asia, all the major stock markets closed with solid gains. Australia's key index led the way with a 1.9% jump.

Firmer oil is also helping Russian markets. The ruble is rising against the dollar, trimming its losses for the year to 42%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

4. Economic data: At 10 a.m. ET, the latest monthly figures on U.S. existing home sales will be released.

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