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US futures higher after Pfizer confirms bid approach for AstraZeneca

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open on Monday, with shares in Europe lifted after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer confirmed it had made a second merger bid for U.K. rival AstraZeneca.

On Monday, Pfizer said it had renewed its bid for AstraZeneca over the weekend, in a deal which could be worth $100 billion-plus. Frankfurt-listed shares of Pfizer traded 1.2 percent higher on the news.

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The boost to European stocks came despite weekend headlines suggesting looming further sanctions against Russia. A joint statement from G-7 nations said they would "move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia" because the latter has not moved to comply with the Geneva accord. News reports suggest Russian energy companies like Rosneft and Gazprom might be hit, along with its defense industry.

Monday morning will be fairly quiet for U.S. first quarter earnings, with reports due from Charter Communications and Franklin Resources. Earnings are due from a quarter of the S&P 500 over the week.

In terms of economic data, there will be pending home sales for March at 10 a.m. ET. on Monday.

Later in the week, Wednesday will be a big day on the macro calendar, with first print for first quarter growth and the Federal Reserve winding up its two-day policy meeting.

"Though the market expects the central bank to stay put for the time being in terms of policy, as the effects of recent sales hikes wash through the economy, there will be some focus on its updated semi-annual outlook, including GDP and inflation forecasts from 2014 to 2016," said Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank in a research note on Monday.




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