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U.S. stocks were headed for a higher open Monday, with strong earnings from Exxon Mobil outweighing investor worries about growing political unrest in Egypt.
On Friday, stocks logged their biggest drop in months, as mounting political protests and tensions across Egypt sparked caution among investors.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 166 points, marking a sharp retreat for the index after it flirted with the 12,000 barrier earlier in the week.
Moody's Investors Service downgraded its rating on the nation's debt to "negative" from "stable".
Companies: Exxon Mobil (XOM) beat expectations from analysts in a fourth-quarter report issued before the open.
The world's largest publicly traded oil company logged earnings of $9.25 billion, or $1.85 a share, up 46% from $6.05 billion, or $1.27, a year earlier.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings per share of $1.63. Revenue climbed 17% to $105.2 billion, beating forecasts for sales of $99.1 billion.
Exxon's stock rose 1% in premarket trading.
Over the weekend, Massey Energy (MEE) was acquired by rival Alpha Natural Resources in a $7.1 billion deal. Shares of Massey jumped 13% in pre-market trading Monday.
Oil for March delivery rose 29 cents to $89.63 a barrel.
Gold futures for February delivery fell $9.80 to $1,331.90 an ounce.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield down to 3.35% from 3.33% late Friday.
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