US futures rise on ECB hopes

New York - US stock index futures were modestly higher on Monday, indicating the S&P 500 would open near record levels, amid corporate merger activity and as hopes grew for more monetary stimulus in European markets.

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

Investors took this to mean the ECB could start an asset purchase program or adopt other stimulus measures in the coming months, which would boost assets like stocks and bonds.

US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke, too, but didn't provide hints on the timing of any interest rate hikes, contributing to a modest equity market decline on Friday.

The deal is the latest vote of confidence in the biotech sector, which many - including Yellen - worry is overvalued.

Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures added 44 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures rose 15.5 points.

The S&P hit an intraday and closing high last week, and market participants are looking for the benchmark index to pierce the 2,000 level for the first time.

The Markit data will be released at 9:45 a.m. EDT (15:45 SA time), and the housing data at 10:00 a.m. - Reuters