Stock futures were narrowly mixed and holding steady ahead of Monday’s open, shadowing action in European markets.
Dow futures traded lower ahead of the bell and were below fair market value. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were slightly higher.
The market is set to walk a tightwire this week. A nine-week pullback left the major indexes below their 200-day moving averages on Friday. Retaking that line of support would be a positive. Remaining below the line, or diving deeper, could signal institutional investors are still seeking safer havens.
Ahead of the bell, LDK Solar (LDK) bolted 6% higher. The China-based solar module maker said it signed three multi-year contracts to develop 200-megawatt power generation projects in three cities of China’s Gansu province. The stock has been falling since it topped above 15 in November 2010. It is now below 2.
Salesforce.com (CRM) announced it would pay $689 million to buy social marketing company Buddy Media. Buddy Media helps advertisers quantify the effectiveness of social marketing ad campaigns. Clients include Ford Motor, Hewlett-Packard and Mattel. Salesforce.com raised its full-year revenue outlook and pared earnings guidance as a result of the deal. Salesforce.com shares slipped a fraction in premarket trade.
Wellpoint (WLP) said it had agreed to buy 1-800 Contacts in a deal expected to close in the third quarter. The company did not disclose details, but the Wall Street Journal quoted a source valuing the deal near $900 million. 1-800 Contacts is an online, direct-to-consumer retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses. Wellpoint shares were unchanged ahead of the opening bell.
Leading stocks were mostly quiet ahead of the open. Among IBD 50 stocks, Titan Machinery (TITN) jumped 3% in premarket trade, leaning toward a rebound after a 7% loss last week. The farm and construction equipment retail chain blasted out of a cup base in April. It ended Friday 3% above the 28.78 buy point.
On the downside, Cooper Companies (COO) dipped 3% in premarket action. The contact lens maker sliced its 50-day moving average in heavy trade Friday.
Overseas, losses slammed markets in China and Japan in Asia’s first trading sessions since Friday’s batch of weak U.S. economic data. Investor confidence also took a hit after data showed growth in China’s service sector slowed sharply in May. The Shanghai Composite toppled 2.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tanked 2% and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.7%.
Europe’s major indexes were mixed in early afternoon trade, with the CAC-40 in Paris up 0.7% and Frankfurt’s DAX down an equal amount. The London Stock Exchange was closed for spring holiday.
In commodities, oil prices continued inching lower and were hovering above the $82 a barrel mark. Natural gas prices were firm at $2.36 per million British thermal units after tumbling 9% last week. Gold held steady at $1,621 an ounce.
April factory orders data are due out from the Census Bureau at 10 a.m. EDT.
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