Stock Futures Steady Amid Raft of Health M&A

By MarketsFOXBusiness

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed on Tuesday as traders eyed a slew of merger activity in the pharmaceutical sector.

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Today's Markets

As of 7:45 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 2 points, or 0.01%, to 16373, S&P 500 futures were steady at 1865 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 4.5 points, or 0.13%, to 3556.

The biotech sector stole Wall Street's spotlight on Tuesday as several big-name firms announced deals.

Novartis (NYSE:NVS) said it would buy GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE:GSK) oncology products unit for $14.5 billion, while at the same time selling GSK its vaccines units, excluding flu, for $7.1 billion. The duo will also create a joint venture in the consumer health space. Meanwhile,  Novartis also said it would sell its animal health division to Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) for about $5.4 billion.

On Monday afternoon, Pershing Square Capital Management's Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceutical (NYSE:VRX) said they would be joining forces in a bid to snatch up Allergan (NYSE:AGN), the maker of Botox. Valeant proposed Tuesday to pay $48.30 a share in cash, plus 0.83 shares of Valeant common stock for the firm.

Elsewhere on the corporate front, blue-chip industrial United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) revealed stronger-than-expected quarterly results. Travelers, the insurance giant, unveiled profits that topped Wall Street's estimates. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) also posted better-than-expected results and an upbeat outlook, sending its shares zipping higher. Earnings from McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) are due out before the opening bell.

On the economic calendar, traders will get a report on existing home sales at 10:00 a.m. ET. The annual pace of home re-sales is forecast to have fallen slightly to 4.55 million in March from 4.6 billion the month prior.

"Existing home sales have slumped since August of last year due to a low inventory of existing homes available for sale, less investor buying as home prices rise, and recently, the adverse weather conditions," analysts at Nomura wrote in a letter to clients.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures fell 38 cents, or 0.36%, to $103.99 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.46% to $3.073 a gallon. Gold rose $3.40, or 0.25%, to $1,292 a troy ounce.

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