US indexes set for fourth week of gains

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WallStreet1234 REUTERS The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet.

New York - US stock index futures were modestly higher on Friday, suggesting the market's recent upswing was intact and pointing to a fourth straight week of gains for major indexes.

* Stocks have been strong of late, with investors taking any opportunity to buy on dips.

However, this week's trading volume has been among the lightest of the year, and that is likely to be more pronounced on Friday, ahead of the Labor Day holiday in the United States for which markets will be closed on Monday.

* Investors are looking ahead to more economic data, which has largely been strong this week.

July personal income and spending data will be released at 14:30 SA time; both are seen up slightly.

* After the market opens, the MNI Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers will be released.

Both are seen rising modestly.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 5.75 points and were above 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 rose 42 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures rose 12 points.

* For the week, the Dow is up 0.5 percent, the S&P is up 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq is up 0.4 percent, the fourth straight week of gains for all three.

For the month of August, the Dow is up 3.1 percent, S&P is up 3.4 percent and the Nasdaq is up 4.3 percent.

Both the Dow and S&P have climbed in six of the past seven months.

* Since falling to a near three-month low on August 7, the benchmark S&P index had risen for 11 of the prior 14 sessions, pushing above 2,000 for the first time this week and hitting multiple records.

* Over the past 250 sessions, the S&P has posted an average daily move of 14.4 points, measuring from each day's high to its low.

Over the past 14 sessions, it has had a move larger than that only once.

* US shares of AstraZeneca rose 2.5 percent to $76.09 in premarket trading after the company's cancer drug pipeline was boosted by news it had moved its immuno-oncology medicine MEDI-4736 into a mid-stage study in colorectal cancer.

* The Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson & Johnson plans to seek a buyer for its medical device maker business, which could fetch between $1.5 billion (R16 billion) and $2 billion.

* Following's lead, Google said it was developing airborne drones capable of flying on their own and delivering goods.

* Investors continue to monitor the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine.

While few US companies have heavy exposure to either country, investors are concerned about the potential response by the United States and Europe to any escalation in hostility. - Reuters

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