MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Monday, December 13, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures rise with deal news in focus

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By Barbara Kollmeyer and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures followed global equities higher Monday after China refrained from hiking interest rates and as several deals were announced, one by General Electric Co.

“As extended as this market may seem, there are still catalysts out there that can take this market higher,” Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald, wrote in a note.

Looking to extend two consecutive weeks of gains, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,445, +37.00, +0.32%)  lately rose 34 points, or 0.3%, to 11,442, while those for the S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,241, +5.00, +0.40%)  added 3.6 points, or 0.3%, to 1,239.5.

Futures for the Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,224, +8.50, +0.38%)   index gained 5.5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,220.5.

Russians protest against Putin

Hundreds of anti-Kremlin protesters gather in Moscow to mark Russian Constitution Day, and to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

U.S. stocks finished higher Friday, with the S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,240, +7.40, +0.60%)   reaching its highest close since September 2008, as investors cheered mostly positive economic data.

Monday’s calendar contained no key data or earnings reports. However, deal news garnered some attention.

General Electric /quotes/comstock/13*!ge/quotes/nls/ge (GE 17.72, +0.59, +3.44%)  said it would pay $1.3 billion for U.K. energy-equipment group Wellstream Holdings PLC /quotes/comstock/23s!e:wsm (UK:WSM 787.50, +40.50, +5.42%) . Read more about GE’s deal.

The proposed acquisition will help GE boost its presence in the oil-and-gas sector, notably in Brazil, the company said in a statement. Wellstream’s board of directors said it will recommend shareholders accept the deal.

Dell Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!dell/quotes/nls/dell (DELL 13.89, +0.24, +1.77%)   said it would pay $27.75 a share for Compellent Technologies Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!cml/quotes/nls/cml (CML 28.71, -0.33, -1.14%) , slightly more than Dell indicated it would pay for the data-storage company last week.

Shares of Dionex Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!dnex/quotes/nls/dnex (DNEX 98.17, +1.21, +1.25%)  could be active after Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!tmo/quotes/nls/tmo (TMO 53.04, +1.01, +1.94%)  said it plans to acquire the laboratory-equipment maker for $118.50 a share in cash, in a deal worth $2.1 billion.

Also in focus, TransDigm Group Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!tdg/quotes/nls/tdg (TDG 70.45, -0.01, -0.01%)   said its revenues for 2011 is expected to rise about 43.8% to a range of $1.16 billion to $1.22 billion, owing to the acquisition of McKechnie Aerospace. It sees adjusted earnings in the range of $3.48 to $3.90 a share.

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The drug sector could garner some attention after French drug giant Sanofi-Aventis SA /quotes/comstock/13*!sny/quotes/nls/sny (SNY 32.71, +0.02, +0.06%)  said Monday that it’s extending its offer for Genzyme Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!genz/quotes/nls/genz (GENZ 69.82, -0.17, -0.24%) . The companies have been at loggerheads over a deal for weeks.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!wmt/quotes/nls/wmt (WMT 54.28, -0.06, -0.11%)  said Monday that it is closing its Moscow representative office, given there is “no clear acquisition partner in the near term.” Wal-Mart said it will continue to pursue market entry opportunities in the country.

U.S. markets could gather some upside momentum from China-inspired gains in Asia and Europe.

In Asia, shares rose as investors were relieved after the People’s Bank of China did not raise interest rates, with data showing inflation increased 5.1% on an annual basis in November, the fastest rise in two years. The central bank lifted banks’ reserve-requirement ratio late last week.

Shares also rose in Europe, with deal news helping drive gains there, along with relief over China’s decision not to hike rates.

Crude-oil futures added $1.30 to $89.09 a barrel in electronic trade in New York, while gold futures were up $7.60 to $1,392.50 an ounce.

Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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