Futures Higher Before Madoff; Wendy's Pops


Wall Street eased into a holiday-shortened week with stock index futures indicating a slightly higher open Monday.

Stock markets were mostly higher in Europe, while premarket US averages were bobbing around the breakeven point.

Fast-food giant Wendy's saw its shares pop more than 9 percent in premarket trading after Barron's wrote that the company could be significantly undervalued and poised for a sharp move higher.

Sanofi Aventis also was an early mover, gaining nearly 3 percent on a Financial Times report that the Paris-based pharmaceutical was preparing to make acquisitions to strengthen its position in the industry.

In the financial sector, UBS said it will pay it will pay between $2.77 billion and $4.62 billion to settle a US tax probe. Shares fell 2.8 percent premarket.

Also in banking, State Street shares slipped 3 percent after the bank received a "Wells Notice" from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a probe into various investment moves in 2007 and in prior periods. State Street said it is cooperating with the inquiry.

Shares in Asia ended mostly lower in choppy trading.

With no economic indicators or earnings reports out ahead of trading, investors' attention will likely fall on the sentencing of convicted Ponzi-scheme operator Bernard Madoff. Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison.

Shares in the mobile phone sector could be active on speculation of global consolidation. Vodafone, the world' s largest cell phone network provider by revenue, is considering buying T-Mobile UK from Deutsche Telekom, the FT reported.

And Hasbro could be in demand after the "Transformers" sequel raked in more than $200 million in the North American box office in the five days since its opening. An analyst said June 19 product tie-ins to the move could add more than $500 million in Hasbro's sales this year.