New York - US stock index futures pointed to modest losses at the open on Monday, as a rash of corporate deals weren't enough reason for investors to keep buying following a rally that has taken major indexes to repeated record highs.
* The S&P 500 has risen in 10 of the past 12 sessions, ending at records six times in the past seven trading days.
On Friday, the benchmark index was lifted by the May payroll report, which pointed to improving economic conditions, though it was slightly weaker than expected.
While Wall Street's upward trend looks intact, traders may need new catalysts to maintain its momentum.
* Merck & Co agreed to buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at about $3.85 billion, while Analog Devices said it would buy Hittite Microwave in a deal valued at $2 billion.
* Shares of Idenix more than tripled, jumping 237 percent to $24.34 on heavy premarket volume.
Merck dipped 0.8 percent to $57.40.
Hittite popped 29 percent to $78.12.
* Market participants will continue to watch the CBOE Volatility index, which fell Friday to its lowest level since February 2007.
The “fear index” is almost half of its historical average, which some analysts worry is a signal that the market is not fully accounting for issues that could derail the rally.
* Apple Inc may see heavy action on Monday, the first session after a seven-for-one stock split.
The tech titan fell 0.4 percent to $91.89 before the bell.
The Nikkei on Friday reported that Apple was preparing to sell its first wearable device this October, aiming to produce 3 million to 5 million smartwatches a month in its initial run.
* S&P 500 futures fell 2.4 points and were slightly 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 futures fell 10 points and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 4 points.
* About 68,000 S&P 500 e-mini contracts traded hands as of 8:30 a.m. EDT (14:30 SA time), indicating another day of light trading, which could make the market susceptible to big swings.
* Family Dollar Stores Inc jumped 12.5 percent to $68.10 in heavy premarket trading after hedge fund billionaire Carl Icahn late Friday reported a 9.39 percent stake in the company, making him the discount retailer's largest shareholder.
* Tyson Foods said it reached a “unilaterally binding offer” to buy Hillshire Brands for $8.55 billion, including debt, beating out Pilgrim's Pride.
Hillshire rose 4.9 percent to $61.83 before the bell. - Reuters