NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures stepped modestly higher Tuesday as investors embraced another round of deal-making and as economic data pointed to improving conditions in the U.S. and overseas.
After a round of M&A action roused Wall Street on Monday, drug developer Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!endp/quotes/nls/endp (ENDP 33.25, +2.64, +8.62%) Â said Tuesday that it would acquire Qualitest Pharmaceuticals for $1.2 billion.
Outsourcing as key campaign issue
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing a bill that promotes hiring American workers, as outsourcing emerges as a key campaign issue. Aaron Zitner, Neal Lipschutz and Bob O'Brien discuss. Also, Brett Arends discusses the myths and realities in the debate over whether to raise taxes on high earners.
âThese deals and the recent increases in dividend payouts are a reminder that corporations are flush with cash,â Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald, wrote in a research note.
âThe cash is out there for significant consolidation in the months to come,â Pado added.
Stock futures extended their mild advance after the S&P/Case-Shiller report found home prices rising 0.6% in July.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/19*!dy10z (DJZ10 10,790, +40.00, +0.37%) Â added 31 points to 10,781.
S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f1:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,140, +2.50, +0.22%) Â gained 3.4 points to 1,141.1, while Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,007, -0.25, -0.01%) Â gained 10.25 points to 2,017.5.
The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,838, +26.00, +0.24%) Â dropped 0.4% Monday, but remains up 8% so far in September.
The Asian Development Bank hiked its outlook for the regionâs economic growth this year, and a gauge of consumer confidence climbed in Germany.
The reports come ahead of data on U.S. consumer confidence later in the session.TODAY'S TOP MARKET STORIES
S&P 500 (1 YEAR)â¢ Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks in focus â¢ Today's biggest advancing, declining stocks â¢ Sign up for free, breaking-news email alerts
Earnings Watch | Earnings, updates, warnings/conga/story/misc/markets.html 84614
The Treasury is scheduled to sell $35 billion in 5-year notes.
On the corporate front, Walgreen Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!wag/quotes/nls/wag (WAG 33.59, +3.24, +10.68%) Â reported a rise in fiscal fourth-quarter profit and expressed confidence in future earnings growth.
Research In Motion Ltd. /quotes/comstock/15*!rimm/quotes/nls/rimm (RIMM 46.60, -1.76, -3.64%) Â /quotes/comstock/11t!rim (CA:RIM 48.22, -1.45, -2.92%) Â will also be in the spotlight after it unveiled a touch-screen tablet device, called the BlackBerry PlayBook, late Monday.
Shares of Bank of Ireland /quotes/comstock/13*!ire/quotes/nls/ire (IRE 3.00, -0.19, -5.95%) Â dropped in premarket trading on concerns over Irelandâs banking sector.
Commodity prices traded lower, with oil futures falling 65 cents to $75.87 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex. Gold futures dropped $10 to $1,288.80 an ounce.
The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.92, -0.47, -0.59%) Â , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, traded at 79.431.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Polya Lesova is reporter for MarketWatch, based in Frankfurt.Powered By iWebRSS.com