US STOCKS-Futures gain ahead of data, Europe supports

Mon Jan 6, 2014 8:22am EST

* Men's Wearhouse launches hostile bid for Jos. A. Bank

* Ford boosts China sales, roars past Toyota and Honda

* Futures up: Dow 31 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 4.5 pts

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged up on Monday, ahead of data on both the services sector and factory goods that could give clues on the momentum of U.S. economic growth early in the new year.

Service industry growth slowed sharply in China in December but picked up across most of Europe, suggesting that an uneven global economic performance persists even as most signs point to a strengthening U.S. revival.

Financial data firm Markit will report its composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) - a weighted average of its manufacturing and services indexes- at 8:58 a.m. EST (1358 GMT) and the more widely followed Institute for Supply Management's services index is due at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT).

"China data was slightly weaker than hoped for, but there was good news with the euro zone as a whole pulling out of recession," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

Cardillo didn't expect much of a move on Wall Street on Monday, with traders sidelined ahead of the release of minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting Wednesday, and the key jobs report for December on Friday.

S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 31 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 4.5 points.

Icy conditions snarled travel across the U.S. Midwest and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed over the weekend, as forecasters warned that life-threatening cold was heading eastward.

"This cold weather front is likely to impact economic activity somewhat," said Cardillo.

Liberty Media said Friday it would offer to buy out the minority shareholders in satellite radio provider Sirius XM . Sirius shares jumped 8.1 percent in premarket trading.

Apparel retailer Men's Wearhouse mounted a hostile bid for rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers with a raised offer, days after the smaller rival raised its buyout defenses. Shares of both companies were up more than 5 percent in premarket trading.

Ford Motor Co and its local partners boosted sales in China by nearly 50 percent last year, nudging past Japanese giants Toyota and Honda to make big inroads into the world's largest auto market. Ford shares edged up 0.6 percent in light premarket trading.

Solar panel shares were in focus. ReneSola jumped 11.8 percent in premarket trading after it secured a contract to supply solar panels to a solar project developer based in Japan; SolarCity was up 6.6 percent in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs added it to its "conviction buy" list.

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