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Futures Slightly Higher; Apple Climbs

CNBC.com
Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | 8:20 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher Monday, after stocks logged their first weekly loss in six, as investors looked ahead to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech later this week and ahead of some key economic reports.

Stocks enjoyed a rally over the last six weeks and touched a new four-year high, but posted their first weekly loss in six weeks last week amid uncertainties in the euro zone and questions over whether the Fed will implement another round of quantitative easing. (Read More: Why Markets Should Cheer QE3 Is Not Coming Soon)

Investors will be looking ahead to Friday when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is set to give a speech at the St. Louis Fed’s annual symposium in Wyoming for hints of further easing. However, some economists doubt the speech will reveal any new details of policy plans.

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said the central bank should "take action now," buying bonds for as long as it takes to produce a steady decline in the employment rate.

Meanwhile, some policymakers have expressed concern in the last week that piling on more bond purchases will do little to help the economy and that letting inflation rates gain could open the door to uncontrolled price hikes.

Apple jumped after the iPhone maker won a victory in a patent lawsuit against rival Samsung.

If Central Banks Act, Expect Market Rally to Continue
Equities have rallied recently following hopes of further intervention by the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve, and this will continue if hopes are fulfilled. If central banks don¿t act, the worsening economic picture will send equities down, according to Anko Beldsnijder, Senior Portfolio Manager, MainFirst Bank.

Among earnings, Tiffany & Co slashed its fiscal-year earnings and revenue guidance for the second quarter.

On the M&A front, Hertz said it will acquire smaller rival Dollar Thrifty in a deal worth about $2.3 billion, putting an end to more than two years of takeover talks.

And Kenexa skyrocketed after news the employment-solutions company will be bought by IBM for $1.3 billion.

M&T Bank said it would acquire Hudson CityBancorp for about $3.7 billion.

As tropical storm Isaac continues to move closer to the Gulf coast, investors are watching the storm’s development to see how much damage it could do to homes, businesses and oil production.

By CNBC’s JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)

Coming Up This Week:

MONDAY: Dallas Fed mtg. survey, Fed's Pianalto speaks, Fed's Evans speaks
TUESDAY: S&P Case-Shiller home price index, consumer confidence, Richmond Fed mfg index, 2-yr note auction
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, GDP, corporate profits, pending home sales, oil inventories, 5-yr note auction, Beige Book; Earnings from Heinz, Pandora, TiVo
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, personal income & spending, 7-yr note auction, chain-store sales; Earnings from Zumiez
FRIDAY: Chicago PMI, consumer sentiment, factory orders, farm prices, Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech

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