* Banks to be in focus as Citigroup reports results
* S&P coming off worst week since June on bearish earnings
* Futures bolstered by hopes of Spain asking for aid
* Data on New York state manufacturing, U.S. retail sales on
* Futures up: Dow 46 pts, S&P 6.7 pts, Nasdaq 17 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Oct 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose
on Monday, tracking European shares higher on hopes Spain would
soon request a bailout.
Equities are coming off their worst week since June, caused
mainly by a discouraging start to the U.S. earnings season,
especially by banks. That group will be in focus Monday with
results from Citigroup Inc.
Spain could ask for financial aid from the euro zone next
month, euro zone officials said, and if it does, the request
would likely be dealt with alongside a revised loan program for
Greece and a bailout for Cyprus in one big package. Spain's
requesting help is viewed as a critical step for resolving the
region's debt crisis.
"When Spain does request help, that will take another risk
out of the market and give some positive pull," said Robert
Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC in New
Citigroup shares rose 0.4 percent in premarket trading ahead
of its results. On Friday, results from JPMorgan Chase & Co
and Wells Fargo & Co sparked concern about
shrinking profit margins for big lenders even though both
companies reported stronger-than-expected earnings.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.7 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 46
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 17 points.
The S&P 500 closed right above its 50-day moving average of
1,428.38 on Friday, and that level may continue to serve as
Profits of S&P 500 companies are seen dropping 3 percent
this quarter from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.
That would represent the first decline in three years and
reflects China's slowing growth and Europe's debt crisis.
With only 6 percent of S&P companies having reported, 59
percent of companies have topped profit expectations - less than
the average beat rate of 67 percent for the past four quarters,
according to Thomson Reuters data. Half of companies have beaten
on revenue, while a quarter missed profit forecasts.
"Earnings have looked decent on the surface, but when you
delve into them there are still a lot of issues," Pavlik said.
"There's still a lot of potential, but you have to be careful."
Sprint-Nextel Corp rose 2.4 percent to $5.87 in
premarket trading after Japanese mobile operator Softbank Corp
said it would buy up to 70 percent of the company for
$20.1 billion. Reports on the deal based on sources led to steep
gains in Sprint and its biggest-ever volume on Thursday.
Economic data on tap includes September retail sales and the
New York Federal Reserve's October Empire State Manufacturing
Survey, both at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Sales are seen rising 0.8
percent while analysts see an Empire State main manufacturing
index reading of -4.55, compared with -10.41 in September.
August business inventory data will be released at 10 a.m.,
with a rise of 0.5 percent expected. While recent data has shown
signs of strength, it hasn't been enough to offset the bearish
tone from earnings.
Shares fell on Friday as the S&P declined for five of the
past six sessions.