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US futures lower as investors ponder Fed actions

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Stock index futures are pointing to a flat to negative open following Friday's advances, which allowed the S&P 500 to break a three-week losing streak and the Nasdaq to end a streak of four down weeks in a row. Investors will be focused on Fed commentary and economic numbers even more than usual, now that Fed officials have indicated that a June rate hike is still very much on the table. (CNBC)

The United States is close to fulfilling the Federal Reserve's requirements to raise interest rates, Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren told the Financial Times. The voting member of the Fed's policymaking committee said he is preparing to back a rate hike in light of positive financial and economic indicators. (FT)

On Monday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, also a voter, said tightening labor markets may increase inflation, bolstering the case for a rate hike. (Reuters)

Crude prices are lower in earlier trade following three weeks of gains for the dollar index and on the view that global supply remains strong despite a series of unplanned oil outages. (Reuters)

The general election contest between likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has become a dead heat, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows. The poll has Clinton leading Trump 46 percent to 43 percent. The difference is within the poll's margin of error. (NBC News)

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has turned up the heat in his fight with the Democratic party. The Vermont Senator endorsed the Democratic National Committee chair's congressional district challenger and accused the party of trying to anoint Clinton its nominee. (Reuters)

The United States will lift its decades-long embargo on the sale of lethal arms to Vietnam, President Obama announced during a state visit in Hanoi on Monday. The president said sales would be determined on a case-by-case basis and will depend on Vietnam's progress in improving human rights. (Reuters)

Boeing (BA) won an $11.3 billion jet order from Vietnam's VietJet, in a deal signed during President Obama's visit to Vietnam. Separately, a Barron's article said Boeing shares could fall as much as 15 percent if aircraft sales fall, with airlines keeping older planes longer and delaying new jet orders. (Reuters)

Monsanto (MON) has received a bid from German drug maker Bayer of $122 per share in cash for the seeds and chemicals maker. The deal is worth a total of $62 billion, including assumed debt, and a more than 20 percent premium over Friday's close. (CNBC)

Viacom (VIAB) CEO Philippe Dauman and board member George Abrams have been removed from the trust that will eventually determine the fate of both Viacom and CBS (CBS) by media mogul Sumner Redstone. Reuters reports that Redstone will name National Amusements general counsel Tad Jankowski to the trust. (Reuters)

The White House on Monday confirmed the leader of the Afghan Taliban was killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan. President Obama called the death of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour "an important milestone." (NY Times)

Iraqi forces will mobilize to take back Fallujah from Islamic State militants, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sunday. The city west of Baghdad has been under Islamic State control since 2014. The effort follows a successful campaign last year to retake Ramadi. (USA Today)

Greek lawmakers have approved reforms including higher taxes and a new privatization fund in a bid to secure bailout loans and debt relief ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers this week. (Reuters)

China threatened to cut off communication with Taiwan if the country's new president does not back Beijing's One China principle that holds Taiwan is part of the Chinese state. (CNBC)

BY THE NUMBERS

There are no economic reports due today, but no shortage of Fed commentary: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, San Francisco Fed President John Williams, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker all have public appearances.

The week gets off to a slow start as far as corporate earnings are concerned, with no earnings of note out either this morning or after today's closing bell.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) has withdrawn its plans for an initial public offering of its oil and gas business. The unit first filed for the IPO in June 2015, but a 24-percent drop in oil prices since then has severely cut valuations for oil producers. The company's filing, however, did not specify the reason for the withdrawal.

LendingClub (LC) has hired Jefferies to help it find investors for loan funding, according to Reuters. After a scandal that led to the departure of the online lender's chief executive officer, some of the company's largest investors halted purchases of its loans.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) senior vice president Brian Stolz resigned from the drug maker to pursue other opportunities. Stolz had served as senior VP of neurology, dentistry, and genetics.

Tribune Publishing (TPUB) will reject the latest takeover bid from Gannett (GCI), according to Reuters, but will agree to share confidential information with its newspaper publishing rival.

Anthem (ANTM) and Cigna (CI) are privately bickering over details of their planned $48 billion merger, according to the Wall Street Journal. That comes even as the two health insurers work to obtain regulatory approval for their deal.

Staples (SPLS) has contacted a handful of buyout firms to shop its European assets, according to London's Sunday Times. That follows the end of its planned buyout of Office Depot (ODP).


WATERCOOLER

Rovio and Sony's "Angry Birds" dethroned "Captain America: Civil War" as the top movie at the U.S. box office with a $39 million debut. R-rated comedies "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" and "The Nice Guys" opened in third and fourth places. (AP)

The Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Golden State Warriors, 133 to 105, in game three of the NBA's Western Conference finals, taking a 2-1 lead in the series. Things got so bad, Warriors coach Steve Kerr benched Steph Curry and his fellow starters. (USA Today)