Futures Rise as M&A Activity Picks Up


U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Monday with merger and acquisition activity adding some focus to low-volume summer trading.

The Dow and the S&P 500 saw two straight weeks of losses, with the S&P moving lower in three of the past four weeks.

On the merger and acquisition front, BHP Billiton's hostile offer for Canada's Potash could see competition as two potential rival bidders have emerged, according to reports. BHP is due to launch a charm offensive in Canada this week to strengthen its chances of securing the deal.

Hewlett-Packard has made a bid for data storage company 3Par at $24 a share, which represents a 33 percent premium against a previous offer from Dell. Shares of 3Par, which trades on the pink sheets, jumped 37 percent on the news, while H-P slipped just 0.6 percent in premarket trading.

The news also pushed other companies in the space higher, including Compellent Technologies and Isilon.

And UK-listed bank HSBC announced it plans to buy up to 70 percent of South Africa's Nedbank.

European stocks managed to make some gains with mining shares providing a boost as an inconclusive election in Australia diminished the chance of a sharp tax rise for the sector. Asian stocks ended mixed with Wall Street's lackluster Friday close adding to market jitters.

There are no significant economic or earnings announcements scheduled for Monday but an event in Overland Park, Kansas could provide insight over the next two days. The House Financial Services Oversight subcommittee begins a conference titled "The End of Excess." Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig is the featured panelist at the early part of the opening session.

In corporate news, researchers at Gilead Sciences have announced that it a treatment it is developing for alcoholism may also be effective in treating cocaine addiction.

And Blackstone Group agreed to a deal with Hong Kong's Great Eagle Group to build high-end apartments in China, according to the Financial Times.

In the commodities markets, the price of wheat rose once again in the wake of the Russian drought and oil traded near a six-week low.

- Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed to this report.