Wall Street futures point to gains for stocks

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a higher open for Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500, Nasdaq futures and Dow Jones futures up 0.3 to 0.4 percent at 0943 GMT.

The S&P 500 <.SPX> posted its best week in nine on Friday as investors rotated into defensive and lagging sectors, with both the Dow Jones <.DJI> and the S&P 500 making new 2 1/2-year highs. Analysts see further gains in store for equity markets as economic growth accelerates.

Some confidence in the recovery in the labor market was fueled by data on Friday that showed U.S. unemployment fell to 9 percent, its lowest level since April 2009, though the economy only added a weaker-than-expected 36,000 jobs.

In company news, France's Sanofi-Aventis and U.S. biotech Genzyme kept investors in suspense about their $20 billion transatlantic pharmaceuticals merger on Monday, as sources predicted a deal within days.

Nasdaq OMX Group said on Saturday that it found suspicious files on its U.S. computer servers, but said there was no evidence hackers had accessed or acquired customer information or that its trading platforms were compromised.

Struggling U.S. Internet company AOL Inc has agreed to buy The Huffington Post, the influential and rapidly growing news, analysis and lifestyle website, for $315 million, it said on Monday.

U.S. regulators will propose on Monday that executives at the largest financial institutions have half of their bonuses deferred for at least three years as part of efforts to curb excessive risk taking, according to two people familiar with the proposal.

Google Inc wants to avoid a lengthy legal battle with European Union regulators investigating its market dominance, the Sunday Telegraph quoted its chief executive as saying.

Time Warner Cable Inc is considering selling part of its IPC Media magazine unit, British newspaper The Telegraph reported on its website on Sunday.

Ford Motor Co will increase production for deliveries to its U.S. dealers by 13 percent in the first quarter of 2011 and may add third shifts to some of its plants, Ford sales executives said on Sunday.

In European equity markets, the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> rose 1 percent in early trade, with oil majors among the gainers.

North Sea Brent crude oil futures jumped back above $100 a barrel on lingering worries that political unrest in Egypt could spread to other markets of the Middle East and disrupt energy supplies.

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Will Waterman)

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