Stock Futures Slip; Corporate News Eyed

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Stock-index futures suggested Wall Street may open the week mildly to the downside as traders eyed news about big-name companies and looked for the next impetus to drive direction.

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Today's Markets

As of 9:09 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 19 points to 13144, S&P 500 futures slipped 2.3 points to 1396 and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 1.8 points to 2707.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled plans on Monday to begin paying a $2.65 a share quarterly dividend beginning in July. The world’s largest company also said it has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program. The iPad maker currently has roughly $100 billion in cash and expects this program to cost $45 billion over the next three years.

“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a release. "Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business."

Also on the corporate front, UPS (NYSE:UPS), the world's biggest package delivery company, sealed a deal to scoop up Dutch TNT Express for $6.9 billion, significantly boosting its foothold in Europe.

The markets have been powering higher this year. Indeed, the S&P 500, a broad barometer of Wall Street's performance, has rallied for five-straight weeks and is up close to 12% to its highest level since 2008. Conversely, volatility has plunged to its lowest level since 2007 and traders have flocked out of safe-haven assets like U.S. Treasuries and German bunds.

Without one key release that is expected to drive sentiment, market participants are questioning whether the recent upswing can hang on to its momentum.

"This week is absolutely vital for the markets in our view," analysts at Nomura wrote in a note to clients on Monday, adding that it is yet uncertain whether the flight to risk will pick up steam or reverse.

10-year Treasury bond prices rose modestly, pushing the yield lower by 0.014-percentage point to 2.283%.

Commodities were mixed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 12 cents, or 0.11%, to $107.18 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline slipped 0.03% to $3.356 a gallon.

Gold edged lower by 70 cents, or 0.04%, to $1,655 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips slipped 0.4%, the English FTSE 100 slumped 0.36% to 5949 and the German DAX fell 0.48% to 7123.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.12% to 10142 and the Chinese Hang Seng dipped 0.95% to 21115.

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