S&P 500 futures near record levels


New York - US stock index futures were little changed on Monday as investors looked ahead to the latest economic data and corporate earnings to give direction to a market near record levels.

* While merger and acquisition activity gave investors a reason to buy, there have been a number of high-profile earning disappointments this quarter, including from and Caterpillar.

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The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet.

Those results have pointed to weak conditions for market-moving bellwethers, even as more companies than usual have beaten analyst expectations for both earnings and revenue this quarter.

* The S&P 500 ended at a record Thursday but fell on Friday, pressured by Amazon's and Visa's weak results.

The benchmark index is less than 1 percent from an all-time intraday record, and on Friday, found support at its 14-day moving average, suggesting a recent positive trend in equities remains intact.

* Dollar Tree Inc offered to buy Family Dollar Stores for about $9.2 billion, or $74.50 per share in cash and stock.

Shares of Family Dollar jumped 22 percent to $74 in light premarket trading while Dollar Tree was up 3.7 percent to $56.24.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 1.25 point and were 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 e-mini futures fell 8 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 0.25 point.

* Investors were looking ahead to pending home sales, due at 10:00 am (16:00 SA time) Sales are seen rising 0.5 percent in June, compared with a rise of 6.1 percent in May.

Last week, June new home sales fell 8.1 percent, the biggest drop in almost a year.

* Financial data firm Markit will release its July read on the US services sector at 9:45 am.

That is seen falling to 59.8 from 61 in June.

Later this week will see the release of data on second-quarter gross domestic product, as well as the July payroll report.

* Cisco Systems shares dipped 0.8 percent to $25.75 before the bell.

On Sunday, Pacific Crest downgraded the stock to “sector perform” from “outperform.”

* El Pollo Loco Holdings, a restaurant chain which went public on Friday, continued the strength of its trading debut to rise 9.4 percent to $26.29 in premarket trading.

The stock was the Nasdaq's most active premarket mover. - Reuters

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