Futures Rise Slightly; Gold Hits Record

U.S. stock index futures rose slightly Monday after the long Easter weekend and after an earnings-driven rally last week.

In merger and acquisition news, Barrick Gold announced an agreement to buy Equinox for about $7.3 billion in cash.

NYSE Euronext said it saw savings in Deutsche Boerse's bid compared with the initial estimate.

And on Friday, Tenet Healthcarerejected a sweetened offer from from Community Health Systems, saying it was not in the shareholders' interest as the price was too low.

A Coast Guard report said Transoceanhad safety lapses in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion that killed 11 people and caused the worst oil spill in the history.

Gold continued to trade at record highs above $1,510, and silver surged 5 percent, as the dollar continued to weaken against a basket of currencies.

The U.S. debt issue continues to send ripples through the markets, with a researcher at the Chinese central bank warning that China must watch out for yields rising on U.S.Treasurys.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake is due to hold a news conference later in the week, the first Fed news conference in a series of quarterly meetings with the press in an effort to increase transparency.

In earnings news, Kimberly-Clark dropped in pre-market trading after reporting disappointing first-quarter resultsand saying the rising cost of pulp was expected to hurt profitability in the months ahead.

Johnson Controls also slipped, although the company delivered record sales and earnings in all its business segments.

Netflix reports after the bell, but the earnings week really begins in earnest on Tuesday with results from Coca-Cola ,Ford , 3M and Amazon.com, among several others.

On the economic front, the government will release March new home sales figures at 10 a.m.

Asian stocks were mixed in thin post-Easter trade while European markets were closed for Easter Monday.

On Tap This Week:

MONDAY: New home sales; earnings before-the-bell from Kimberly Clark and after-the-bell from Netflix.
TUESDAY: Consumer confidence; earnings before-the-bell from Coca-Cola, Ford, 3M, UPS, Coach, Cummins, Delta Air Lines, U.S. Steel and Valero, and after-the-bell from Amazon.com, Broadcom, Dreamworks, and Western Union.
WEDNESDAY: Durable goods, oil inventories; earnings before-the-bell from Boeing, BP, ConocoPhillips, Barrick Gold, Corning, Credit Suisse, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and after-the-bell from eBay, Starbucks, Allstate, Baidu, Citrix, Flowserve, and Norfolk Southern.
THURSDAY: GDP, jobless claims, pending home sales; earning before-the-bell from AstraZeneca, Deutsche Bank, Exxon Mobil, PepsiCo, P&G, Royal Dutch Shell, Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol Myers, Discovery Communications, Dow Chemical, Medco Health, Motorola Solutions, Occidental Petroleum, Pulte Group, Raytheon, Sprint Nextel, Starwood, Thomson Reuters, Time Warner Cable, and Viacom, and after-the-bell from Microsoft, Cliffs Natural Resources, and Motorola Mobility.
FRIDAY: Personal income, personal spending, Chicago PMI, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment; earnings before-the-bell from Caterpillar, Chevron, Merck, DR Horton, Pitney Bowes, and Weyerhaeuser.

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