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Wall Street to dip at open after two-day rally

Chuck Mikolajczak
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 4, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for a slight decline at the open on Monday, indicating the S&P 500 would retreat after its best two-day performance in four months, ahead of new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's first testimony before lawmakers on Tuesday.

* The benchmark S&P 500 rallied Friday for the index's first weekly gain in the past four, as investors looked past a disappointing payrolls report.

* Despite the soft payrolls data, affected partly by frigid weather, the Federal Reserve is largely expected to continue its efforts to scale back its stimulus.

* Yellen's first test as chair of the Federal Reserve comes Tuesday when she faces U.S. lawmakers, some hostile to the central bank, who will want to know how committed she is to winding down the Fed's support for the economy.

* S&P 500 E-mini futures shed 3.75 points and were slightly below 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 lost 21 points and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 1.75 points.

* McDonald's Corp reported better-than-expected global sales at established restaurants for January as gains in Europe helped the company offset a sharp decline in the United States. Shares of the world's biggest restaurant chain edged down 0.2 percent to $95.70 before the opening bell.

* Earnings season has moved into its latter stages, with 54 S&P 500 companies expected to report results this week.

* Of 343 companies in the benchmark S&P index that have reported earnings through Friday, 67.9 percent beat Wall Street expectations, Thomson Reuters data showed, against 67 percent over the past four quarters, and ahead of the 63 percent rate since 1994.

* Hasbro Inc fell 1.8 percent to $49.17 in premarket trading after the toymaker reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit on weak holiday sales in North America.

* CNA Financial Corp said it would sell its life and group insurance business, while parent Loews Corp reported a bigger quarterly loss, hurt by impairment charges.

* Yelp Inc jumped 8.5 percent to $97 in premarket trading after the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Internet portal Yahoo was partnering with the consumer-reviews website to beef up local results in its search engine.

* AutoNavi Holdings Ltd surged 27 percent to $21.01 before the opening bell after Alibaba Group disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had offered to buy all the shares of the Chinese digital mapping and navigation firm it does not already own.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)