U.S. stocks were set to rise on Wednesday after estimate-beating results from Dell and a deal for Sanofi-Aventis to buy Genzyme for $20.1 billion in cash.
French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA agreed to buy Genzyme Corp for a sweetened $74 a share as merger and acquisition activity continued to bring fresh cash into the market. Its share rose 1.6 percent to $75.70 premarket.
Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Group offered to acquire Family Dollar Stores Inc for $55 to $60 per share in cash, giving the company an implied value of $7.6 billion. Family Dollar advanced 28.2 percent to $56.35.
Dell Inc , the world's No. 2 personal computer maker, flew past profit and margins expectations in the latest show of strength from corporate America that has helped lift stocks. Its shares jumped 6.9 percent at $14.87 premarket.
The general tone of (Dell's) report is alleviating worries over tech demand, said Nick Kalivas, an analyst at MF Global in Chicago. It's picking up confidence and I think it's complemented quite a bit by the M&A news.
S&P 500 futures rose 4 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 futures jumped 32 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.5 points.
Trian's bid for Family Dollar helped shares of other discount retailers. Dollar Tree Inc rose 5.2 percent to $53.61 while Dollar General Corp rose 6.2 percent to
Farm equipment maker Deere & Co reported a doubling of quarterly profit amid strong North American sales. Its shares rose 3.9 percent to $97.30.
Comcast Corp posted stronger quarterly earnings on surging ad sales and upgrading customers to higher-priced packages. The shares rose 5.6 percent to $25.50 premarket.
On the downside, shares of OfficeMax Inc fell 9.4 percent to $15.45 after earnings for the office supplies retailer missed expectations and it forecast lower first-quarter sales.
The news weighed on its peers. Office Depot Inc fell 1.7 percent to $5.85 and Staples Inc lost 2.8 percent to $21.58.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)