Stocks were set for a higher open on Monday after FedEx Corp raised its earnings outlook and ahead of data on new home sales.
FedEx shares shot up 4.7 percent premarket and gave a boost to stock futures, which hovered around 1,100, a key level. Some technical measures of both the S&P 500 <.SPX> and S&P futures are sending bullish signals, but charts also show further resistance roughly 1 percent above current levels.
We're dealing with this 1,100 area, and that's key. If you fail right away, that would be a negative, said Frank Gretz, market analyst at Wellington Shields & Co in New York.
There's decent momentum on the upside, and unlike other times when the market rallies there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm, Gretz said. When people get too optimistic that's not a good sign.
S&P 500 futures rose 2 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 gained 13 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 3.75 points.
Pharmaceutical stocks will be in the spotlight. The Wall Street Journal said Britain's GlaxoSmithKline Plc had recently made a very casual approach, to Genzyme Corp but industry insiders and analysts said Glaxo's chief executive was unlikely to pursue a deal. U.S.-traded Glaxo shares dipped 0.8 percent to $36.22 premarket, and Genzyme added 6.6 percent to $66.55.
Sources familiar with the matter said on Friday that Sanofi-Aventis was sounding out Genzyme, prompting a 15 percent jump in the U.S. biotech company's market value to $16.7 billion.
BP Plc was up 3 percent in premarket trading as the British oil giant is expected to install an American troubleshooter as chief executive in the next 24 hours, replacing Tony Hayward, who has come under fire for his handling of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Investors will eye the U.S. Commerce Department's new home sales data for June at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 320,000 annualized units in June compared with 300,000 in May.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)