Stock futures gain ahead of home sales, earnings
AstraZeneca leaps on renewed Pfizer interest
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (CBE:DJM4) climbed 63 points, or 0.4%, to 16,386, while those for the S&P 500 index(GLC:SPM4) picked up 6.70 point, or 0.4%, to 1,866.60. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index (GLC:NDM4) rose 13 points, or 0.4%, to 3,543.50.
The upbeat trends come after a sharp selloff on Friday, when renewed tensions between Russia and Ukraine and a batch of disappointing earnings sent all three benchmarks lower. The Russia-Ukraine standoff was also in the spotlight on Monday, with President Barack Obama saying the U.S. will levy new economic sanctions on Russian companies and individuals on Monday. Read: Pro-Russia rebels parade hostages in Ukraine
“For now, the fear part of the equation which sent stocks lower on Friday has eased a bit. War still hasn’t erupted between Russia and the West. Thankfully, we made it past the weekend without a major incident,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital, in emailed comments.
He also noted that we’re still in a bull market, where “surprises tend to be on the upside, not downside.”
In data news, only a report on pending home sales in March at 10 a.m. Eastern Time is likely to get attention. In February, pending home-sales fell 0.8%, marking an eight month of declines. Analysts at Daiwa Capital Markets said the U.S. housing sector recently has been disappointing in two ways: The longer-term recovery hasn’t been as strong as hoped and it recently has hit a soft patch.
“Activity has mounted only a modest recovery from the bust during the recession, deviating from its typical role as a leader in business expansions,” Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Capital Markets America, said in a note.
Later in the week, a trifecta of economic events and data is poised to set the trading tone. On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to announce another $10 billion of tapering, while U.S. GDP data the same day probably will show the economy expanded 1% in the first quarter. On Friday, nonfarm-payrolls data is the main event, and is forecast to show that more than 200,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in April.
The week also is packed with earnings reports. Ahead of the opening bell on Monday, Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is expected to report a profit of 10 cents a share on revenue of $2.18 billion. Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) said Tuesday that it plans to sellnearly four million extra subscribers in a two-staged deal with Charter Communications — representing a consolation prize for Charter’s eight-month pursuit of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC) .
Also early Monday, Franklin Resources Inc. (NYSE:BEN) is expected to report second-quarter earnings of 89 cents a share.
After the closing bell, Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of $1.30 a share on revenue of $1.24 billion.
Among premarket movers, U.S.-listed shares of AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) (LSS:UK:AZN) leapt 12% after Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) confirmed it has approached the drug maker for a second time about a takeover valued at nearly $100 billion. Pfizer said in a statement it themerger would result in a more efficient tax structure as AstraZeneca’s non-U.S. profits wouldn’t be subject to U.S. tax. Pfizer shares were up 2.1% ahead of the open.
Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:FURX) surged 28% ahead of the open after Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE:FRX) said it will buy the company for $1.1 billion in cash.
Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN) could also be active in Monday’s trade after Stifel Research cut the pharma firm to hold from buy.
In other financial markets, Asian bourses closed mostly lower , while European stocks posted broad-based gains. Metals were mixed(CNS:GCM4) , and oil futures (NMN:CLM4) advanced. The dollar weakened against most other major currencies.