Stock futures gain after strong Chinese data

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday as strong Chinese trade data eased concerns of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy and pointed to strong global demand.

China posted an $11.4 billion trade surplus in April, nearly four times greater than expected, after exports hit a record on healthy demand and imports rose less than expected.

The Chinese trade data would indicate to me that other large and developing economies are strengthening, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont. The world economy is still strengthening.

Still, he said a possible dollar rally sparked by deepening euro zone debt troubles could hurt commodities and force a shift in sector leadership in U.S. stocks. I'm seeing a lot of defensiveness moving into this market, Mendelsohn said, typically utilities, consumer staples and health care.

Microsoft Corp is close to buying Internettelephone network Skype from eBay Inc for $8.5 billion, a source said. Microsoft edged up 0.4 percent to $25.92 in premarket trade, while eBay rose 3.2 percent to $34.18.

S&P 500 futures rose 6.6 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 46 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 13.25 points.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd <2330.TW> and United Microelectronics Corp <2303.TW>, the world's two biggest contract chipmakers, posted slower sales growth in April after Japan's earthquake brought a supply shortfall for key materials in producing smartphones and tablets.

Dean Foods Co rose 6.6 percent to $11.70 in premarket trade after posting higher-than-expected quarterly profit. As earnings season winds down, investors also awaited results from Dow component Walt Disney Co .

At 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department reports import-export prices for April. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 1.8 percent rise in imports and a 0.9 percent increase in exports.

The Commerce Department releases wholesale inventories for March at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists look for inventories to rise 1.0 percent, a repeat of the February increase.

U.S. stocks advanced on Monday as commodity-related shares rebounded from last week's collapse, masking deeper doubts about what will sustain the market's long-term strength.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos)

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