Do-a-deal Monday looms
Transactions, both completed and in the works, could set positive tone for U.S. markets at the open.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Deals - both completed and in the works - could help push U.S. stocks higher when the trading week begins later Monday.
At 7:55 a.m. ET, S&P and Nasdaq futures pointed to initial gains for the major indexes.
Among the deals are two in the semiconductor sector: Advanced Micro Devices' (Charts) announced $5.4 billion acquisition of specialty chip maker ATI (Charts). Shares of ATI gained $2.68, or 16 percent, in Inet electronic trading on news of the deal, while shares of AMD lost 76 cents, or 4 percent.
In addition, hospital operator HCA (Charts) reportedly is close to an agreement to be acquired for about $21 billion in one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history. Buyers reportedly include private equity firms Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, investment bank Merrill Lynch (Charts) as well as the family of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, whose relatives founded HCA, and some HCA management.
"I think the deals are just a confirmation that corporations are putting their cash to use, and that's an indication that while the economy is poised to slow, there doesn't appear to be worries of a hard-landing scenario," said Peter Cardillo, chief market strategist SW Bach.
Cardillo also said that geopolitical concerns, while still weighing on the market, don't seem to be getting worse.
Oil prices retreated as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice arrived in Beirut. U.S. light crude was down 83 cents to $73.60 a barrel in electronic trading, while Brent crude trading in London fell 76 cents to $72.99.
Treasury prices were lower, raising the yield on the 10-year note to 5.06 percent from 5.04 percent late Friday.
The dollar was higher against the euro and the yen.
In earnings news Merck (Charts) reported improved results that beat forecasts, as the drugmaker raised its 2006 earnings guidance. Shares of the Dow component gained 89 cents, or 2.4 percent, in pre-market trading on Inet.
Other earnings due Monday include Dow component American Express (Charts) and as well as chipmaker Texas Instruments (Charts), which was due to report after the closing bell. Those reports kick off a busy week for earnings reports.
Related: More on U.S. markets ahead of the open.