Futures Follow Asian Markets Higher, GE Deal in Focus

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Stock futures pointed to a modestly positive start to the trading week as positive economic policy news out of the China helped lift global markets while U.S. investors also focused on a $1.3 billion purchase by General Electric (NYSE:GE).

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As of 8:55 a.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 36 points to 11380, the S&P 500 futures were up 5 points to 1240.80 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 8.5 points to 2223.50..

Asian markets closed solidly higher overnight after the People’s Bank of China kept interest rates unchanged at its latest interest rate policy meeting, despite national concerns about inflation. Market speculation had been that the PBoC would have raised rates modestly, especially since the most recent data on inflation showed it rising at its fastest pace in two years.6

Commodities rose broadly on the news, with oil up 1.3% to $88.94 a barrel and gold up 0.5% to $1,392.00 a troy ounce. Industrial use copper futures rose 1.53% to $4.175 a pound.

In individual company news, GE announced it would purchase U.K. energy equipment company Wellstream Holdings for $1.3 billion. The deal will give GE a larger presence in the oil-and-gas sector.

There are no major U.S. earnings and economic data out today.

Company News

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) said it would shut down its Moscow field office, saying it plans to enter the Russian retail market through acquisitions instead of organic store openings. In the mean time, the company does not see a suitable acquisition target in the near term.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) said it would buy Internet data storage company Compellant Technologies for $960 million, or $27.75 in cash. It's the latest Internet data storage company to be bought up by larger technology firms in recent months, following this summer's bidding war between HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell over 3Par.

Global Markets

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 1.02% to 5872.51, France's CAC 40 was up 1.2% to 3903.50 and Germany's DAX rose 0.5% to 7042.16.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.8% to 10293.90, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.67% to 23317.60 and China's Shanghai Composite jumped 2.88% to 2922.95.

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