Monday 29 June 2009

UPDATE:BEFORE THE BELL: US Stk Futures Turn Up; Eyes On Madoff

UPDATE:BEFORE THE BELL: US Stk Futures Turn Up; Eyes On Madoff

(Updates to add Enterprise Pdts/Teppco deal, analyst comment, latest available prices)

By Simon Kennedy

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--U.S. stock-market futures turned modestly higher Monday at the start of a holiday-shortened week, with Enterprise and Teppco announcing a merger and attention also on the sentencing of Bernard Madoff for his multibillion-dollar fraud.

S&P 500 futures rose 3.8 points to 917.70 and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8 points to 1484.80. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 29 points.

U.S. stocks closed a choppy week on another mixed noted Friday, with Palm Inc. (PALM) and Accenture Ltd. (ACN)(among the gainers after their earnings exceeded expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 34 points on Friday, the S&P 500 shed 1.36 points and the Nasdaq Composite gained 8.68 points.

Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.2%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.3% for its second decline in a row, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6%.

There's little significant data due Monday, though the rest of the week will see a string of releases. They include the June employment report, which will be announced earlier than usual on Thursday, as U.S. markets will be closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday.

Oil prices moved higher, with the August-dated light-crude contract adding 71 cents to $69.87 a barrel. The move came after oil prices fell more than $1 in the previous session on concern that a high U.S. savings rate could imply a slow recovery and weak demand.

Also Monday the International Energy Agency revised down its six-year demand forecast.

The euro fell 0.1% against the dollar at $1.4047, while the greenback gained 0.3% against the yen to 95.44 yen.

"The major indices may struggle for a bit of direction today as we lack any real meaningful data on both the economic and corporate calendars," said Ian Griffiths, a dealer at CMC Markets.

"With the recent rally slowing considerably and the markets looking toppy, investors will be hoping to break the two week losing streak and get some gains on the board. However with unemployment set to move into double figures on Thursday we may have to build up some gains before what could be some disappointing numbers," he added.

In corporate news, Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD), Teppco Partners LP (TPP) and Enterprise GP Holdings L.P. (EPE) announced that they had agreed to form a publicly-traded energy partnership with an enterprise value of more than $26 billion.

Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby and Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. (WW) said Sunday they have agreed to merge in a $3.5 billion deal that will created a global professional-services and human-resources group.

Mining giant Anglo American PLC (AAUK) is in talks to sell a major investment stake to Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (ACH), according to a U.K. media report, though at least one executive is separately quoted as saying no deal is planned.

Microsoft Corp.(MSFT) plans to sell its digital advertising agency Razorfish, according to a Financial Times report, with France's Publicis Groupe (PUB.FR) a possible buyer.

Among companies due to report earnings Monday, H&R Block Inc. (HRB) is expected to post a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $2.06 a share.

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.5%, while in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down around 1%.

-Simon Kennedy; 415-439-6400;

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 29, 2009 07:42 ET (11:42 GMT)

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