MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Monday, April 4, 2011

Indications: U.S. futures edge up as oil prices rise above $108

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures edged higher on Monday after the previous session’s gains, as investors monitored oil prices that rose above $108 a barrel.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\m11 (DJM11 12,338, +20.00, +0.16%)  gained 15 points to 12,333 and futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\m11 (SPM11 1,331, +2.80, +0.21%)  added 2.60 points to 1,330.3.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\m11 (NDM11 2,348, +9.50, +0.41%)  rose 9.50 points to 2,348.

Hong Kong lures Japan’s workers

As some expats in Japan prepare to leave, Hong Kong is speeding up measures to approve visas to attract top professionals.

The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,377, +56.99, +0.46%)  rose 0.5% on Friday after data showed strong growth in the U.S. labor market in March. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 216,000 in March, while the unemployment rate fell to 8.8%, a two-year low.

As for Monday, no major economic data are scheduled for release.

In the commodity markets, oil prices extended recent gains. Nymex crude oil for May delivery rose 50 cents to $108.44 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.

Brent crude prices gained 75 cents to $119.44 a barrel on ICE Futures.

“Besides the ongoing fighting in Libya and protests in the Middle East, U.S. labor-market data are also lending support,” Commerzbank said in a note to clients.

Gold futures also climbed, with the June contract rising $9.80 to $1,438.70 an ounce on Globex.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 75.80, -0.04, -0.05%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, traded up 0.1% to 75.897.

In premarket trade, shares of Southwest Airlines Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!luv/quotes/nls/luv (LUV 12.67, +0.04, +0.32%)  fell nearly 5%. Investors are digesting news that a mid-air rupture of the fuselage skin on Southwest Airlines flight 812 on Friday led the aircraft to make an emergency landing in Yuma, Arizona. Following the incident, the airline started conducting inspections on a subset of its Boeing 737 fleet.

Shares of Ambassadors International Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!amie/quotes/nls/amie (AMIE 2.80, 0.00, 0.00%)  plunged 78% in pre-open trading. After the close of trading on Friday, the cruise company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Equity markets in Europe were slightly higher in volatile trade, as traders digested deal news. The Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 280.60, +0.58, +0.21%)  gained 0.2% in intraday trading.

U.S.-listed shares of Vodafone Group PLC /quotes/comstock/15*!vod/quotes/nls/vod (VOD 29.08, +0.33, +1.15%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!a:vod (UK:VOD 180.50, +1.40, +0.78%)  gained 1.1% in premarket trade on Monday after the U.K. mobile giant announced it will sell its 44% stake in SFR to France’s Vivendi /quotes/comstock/24s!e:viv (FR:VIV 20.68, +0.16, +0.78%)  for around $11.3 billion.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau.

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