New York - US stock index futures were higher on Monday, as the threat of an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine appeared to lessen and the latest round of merger action supported equities.
Russia said all issues related to it sending a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved but said no progress has been made in talks toward a ceasefire or political solution to the fighting in the east of the country after talks between Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine on Sunday.
The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet. Credit: REUTERS
But the region remained unsettled as Ukraine accused pro-Russian rebels on Monday of hitting a refugee convoy of buses with rocket fire near the eastern city of Luhansk, but the separatists denied responsibility.
Merger and acquisition action continues to flourish.
Discount retailer Dollar General Corp offered to buy Family Dollar Stores for $8.95 billion (R95 billion), trumping an offer by Dollar Tree.
Family Dollar shares gained 5.2 percent to $80 before the opening bell while Dollar General jumped 7.9 percent to $62.
Sensors and electrical controls maker Sensata Technologies said it would buy the Schrader group of companies for an enterprise value of $1 billion.
Ingersoll-Rand, a maker of heating and air conditioning systems, said it would buy Cameron International's centrifugal compression unit for $850 million.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 10.5 points and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a higher open.
Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 88 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 22 points.
In a relatively light week for economic data, investors will closely monitor the August 21-23 annual meeting of top central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for possible insight about the path for monetary policy in the months ahead.
Earnings season will effectively draw to a close this week with the results from a host of retailers, including Home Depot, Target and Gap.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Friday, of the 466 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 68 percent have topped analyst expectations, besting the 63 beat rate since 1994 and the 67 percent rate for the past four quarters.
European shares were higher on the Ukraine situation but Asian stocks stalled after notching their biggest weekly rise in nearly five months last week. - Reuters