Stock Futures Edge Higher, But Oil Worries Persist

By: By FRANCESCA LEVY Email
By: By FRANCESCA LEVY Email

Stock futures are edging higher on word of a pair of multi-billion dollar takeover deals but rising oil prices are keeping a lid on the gains.

Oil hit a two-year high, moving above $106 a barrel.

With no major corporate earnings announcements scheduled Monday
and little economic news, investors will be closely watching the movement of oil prices.

The market has been shaken in recent weeks by fighting between Libyan government forces and rebels, and its effect on the price of oil.

The violence has heavily affected output from the oil-rich country.

A prolonged cut in crude exports from the OPEC nation could hurt the global economic recovery.

Two big corporate deals may encourage investors. French fashion conglomerate LVMH says it will buy Italian jeweler Bulgari for $6 billion.

Hard drive maker Western Digital plans to buy Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for $4.3 billion.

This afternoon, the Federal Reserve reports on how much consumers borrowed in January.

Analysts expect the report to show that borrowing rose at an annual rate of $3.5 billion after rising at a $6.1 billion rate in December.

Borrowing is just 0.7 percent higher than the three-year low hit in September. Investors may take it as a positive sign if borrowing exceeds expectations, because as consumers increasingly use their credit cards, more money flows into the economy.

The report is due out at 3 p.m. EST.

Ahead of the bell, the Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 10 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,164.

Standard & Poor's 500 futures are up 1.5 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,322. Nasdaq 100 futures are up 7 points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,366.

The unrest in Libya made for volatile markets last week, with the Dow Jones industrial average absorbed two days of heavy losses but ended the week up 0.3 percent.

The S&P 500 index gained 0.1 percent for the weeks while the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.5 percent.


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