U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open for Wall Street Monday as prospects for a resolution to the Greek debt crisis somewhat brightened and AIG agreeing to sell its Asian business to UK insurer Prudential.
Economic reports showing that personal spending increased 0.5 percent in January even though income gained only 0.1 percenthad a slighly positive impact on futures. Economists had expected both numbers to reflect 0.4 percent gains.
In corporate news, AIGhas agreed to sell its Asian life insurance unit to Britain'sPrudential for about $35.5 billion, a transaction which will help AIG pay back some of the government's bailout money.
AIG shares jumped nearly 14 percent in premarket trading while Prudential edged lower.
Millipore is among stocks to watch this morning, as it agrees to be bought by Germany's Merck (no relation to the U.S. company of the same name) for about $6 billion in cash. Millipore jumped more than 11 percent premarket.
In news that does involve Dow component Merck , AstraZeneca said it plays to exercise an option to buy rights to Entocort, Atacand and Plendil and several other products under development. AstraZeneca said it plans to exercise the option in April. Its shares fell 1.2 percent premarket.
European banking leader HSBC reported a $7 billion profit that nonetheless missed Wall Street expectations, sending its US-traded shares down 7.5 percent premarket.
European stocks were trading higher, boosted by a fast expansion of the manufacturing sector in some countries of the euro zone and in Britain, while Asian markets closed up, with mining companies gaining after the Chile earthquake.
In other economic news, at 10 am, the ISM manufacturing index for February is expected to come in at 57.5, which would be a slight drop from the January reading of 58.4, which was the highest since August 2004. January construction spending, also out at 10 am, is forecast to show a decrease of 0.6 percent, following a 1.2 percent fall in December.
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker will speak at 8:45 am on the subject of financial reform. That topic was also the subject of long but still ongoing negotiations in Washington over the weekend, where an aide to Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd says Monday will not see any revised version of the financial regulation reform bill.
Investor Warren Buffett may move markets this morning, as he appears on CNBC from 6 am to 9 am ET, following the release of Berkshire Hathaway's annual letter to investors.
Buffett said the economy is getting better but at a "very, very slow pace."
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is in China to meet with officials and the media, as he seeks to ease quality concerns following the massive recalls of Toyota vehicles.
Copper prices may be worth watching this morning, soaring in the aftermath of the Chilean quake. However, a key copper mine in Chile has now restarted operations, which may ease the prospect of supply shortages.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.