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Futures Rise Ahead of Open; Microsoft Falls

Stock index futures are modestly higher after news import prices rose at a slower pace in April, and that margins for crude futures were raised 25 percent.

Microsoft fell after news the tech giant was closing in on a deal to buy Skypefor $8.5 billion including debt, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

In earnings news, Dean Foods soared after delivering a better-than-expected profit in the first quarter, boosted by sales of its Horizon Organic milk. The dairy company also boosted its 2011 outlook.

On the economic front, U.S. import prices rose 2.2 percentin April, following a 2.6 percent gain in March, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected only a 1.8 percent rise.

Also, an index of small business owner sentiment fell 0.7 point to 91.2 in April even as sales performance improved. The drop in theNational Federation of Independent Business's small-business optimism index follows a 2.6-point drop in March.

Oil prices fell after the CME Group raised margins for U.S. crude futures by 25 percent.

The dollar fell slightly against a basket of currencies, while the euro stabilized, although worries remain about Greece's debt troubles. Greece deniedit was seeking a new bailout package from the European Union.

China had a trade surplus of $11.4 billion in April, four times more than expected.

Asian stocks closed higher while European shares rose, lifted by optimism about global growth as a result of the boost in China's trade surplus.

China's trade surplus was nearly four times higher than expected, sparking fears that it could reignite criticism about its currency policy.

On the Calendar This Week:

TUESDAY: Wholesale trade, Richmond Fed president speaks, 3-year Treasury note auction; Google developers conference, CIT Group shareholder meeting; earnings from Dean Foods before-the-bell, and Disney after-the-bell.
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, international trade, oil inventories, Atlanta Fed president speaks, 10-year Treasury note auction, Cleveland Fed president speaks, Minneapolis Fed president speaks, Treasury budget, AIG IPO roadshow, Comcast shareholder meeting, Senate judiciary hearing on AT&T merger; earnings from Arcelor Mittal and Toyota before-the-bell, and Cisco and Symantec after-the-bell.
THURSDAY: PPI, retail sales, jobless claims, business inventories, 30-year Treasury bond auction, money supply, NPD video game sales, Ford shareholder meeting, options industry conference; earnings from Kohl's and Macy's before-the-bell, and Nordstrom after-the-bell.
FRIDAY: CPI, consumer sentiment, Transocean shareholder meeting; Earnings from Petrobras

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