* Hillshire Brands shares jump after Pilgrim's Pride bid
* Cisco shares up on Deutsche Bank upgrade, price target
* Aeropostale jumps after it secures $150 mln credit
* Futures up: Dow 72 pts, S&P 8 pts, Nasdaq 18 pts
(Updates prices, adds data)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, May 27 U.S. stocks were set to rise at
the open on Tuesday supported by merger activity and as
expectations for rates cuts by the European Central Bank stoked
bids for equities even after the benchmark S&P 500 index closed
at a record on Friday.
* ECB chief Mario Draghi said on Monday the bank must be
"particularly watchful" for any negative price spiral in the
euro zone. That added to suggestions from other ECB policymakers
that the bank was ready to cut rates next week to counter low
inflation and weak lending in the euro zone, keeping asset
purchases as an option.
* Data was also supportive of equities. Orders for
long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly rose in April
even as a measure of business capital spending plans dropped,
and home prices rose in March more than expected.
* Other U.S. data due later in the day include Markit's
final services sector PMI for May at 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT) and
the Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence at 10:00
a.m. (1400 GMT).
* Shares of packaged food company Hillshire Brands
jumped 21 percent in premarket trading after poultry producer
Pilgrim's Pride offered to buy Hillshire in a deal
valued at $6.4 billion. Shares of Pinnacle Foods, which
is in the process of being acquired by Hillshire, fell 6.2
percent, while Pilgrim's Pride added 4.4 percent.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 8 points and fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract, indicated a higher open. Dow Jones industrial average
e-mini futures rose 72 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini
futures added 18 points.
* Pfizer shares edged up 0.8 percent in premarket
trading a day after the U.S. drugmaker walked away from its bid
to buy AstraZeneca for nearly 70 billion pounds ($118
billion). U.S.-traded AstraZeneca shares dropped 1.8 percent.
* Aeropostale shares jumped 13 percent premarket
after the apparel retailer secured a $150 million credit
facility from affiliates of private equity firm Sycamore
Partners, in what could be a lifeline for the struggling
* Cisco Systems shares rose 1.7 percent premarket
after Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the stock to "buy" and
raised its price target to $30 from $25.
* BioCryst Pharmaceuticals shares added 22 percent
premarket after mid-stage trial results showed its experimental
drug to treat a rare immune disorder was found effective in
reducing attacks related to the condition.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum and