* Yahoo's board approves $1.1 bln Tumblr acquisition
* Freeport sweetens Plains Exploration deal
* Actavis to acquire Warner Chilcott in stock-for-stock deal
* Futures off: Dow 20 pts, S&P 2 pt, Nasdaq 4.75 pts
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, May 20 U.S. stocks were set to dip at
the open on Monday as investors search for catalysts after major
U.S. equity indexes closed a fourth consecutive week of gains
Deals including Yahoo's $1.1 billion bid for Tumblr indicate
that companies continue to search for growth through
acquisitions despite record highs, a bullish sign for stocks.
The S&P 500 and Dow industrials finished Friday at fresh
record highs and the Nasdaq Composite is at its highest since
late 2000. A light economic and earnings calendar could leave
the market vulnerable for a pullback, but those have been
shallow and short-lived as investors take any weakness as a new
chance to increase long positions.
"I'm not looking for a major down movement, but cautious
sideways is probably what we are headed for," said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in
Cardillo pointed to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's
testimony before Congress on Wednesday as the highlight of the
week. The beginning of the end of the Fed's massive bond-buying
program, which has given strong support to stock gains, might
come sooner than many investors think if recent gains in the
U.S. labor market hold.
S&P 500 futures dipped 2 points and were below 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 fell 20
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 4.75 points.
Yahoo shares rose 0.8 percent in premarket trading
after its board has approved a deal to buy blogging and social
networking site Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash.
Actavis confirmed it will acquire Warner Chilcott
Plc in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at $5
billion. Actavis shares rose 2.3 percent in premarket trading
and Warner Chilcott added 1.9 percent.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and Plains
Exploration & Production said they would pay
shareholders more in dividends if they approved Freeport's
roughly $6 billion takeover offer for Plains. Plains shares
jumped 7.1 percent in premarket trading.
Pactera Technology International said it received a
proposal from a Blackstone affiliate, its non-executive chairman
and its chief executive to take the company private. Pactera
shares rose 37 percent in light premarket trading.
Websense Inc shares jumped 28 percent premarket
after it agreed to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners.
Solar products maker JA Solar Holdings reported
another quarterly loss on lower prices for panels that convert
sunlight into electricity, but its operating loss nearly halved
from the first quarter of 2012. Its shares jumped 15.7 percent
higher in light premarket trading.
Campbell Soup shares rose 2.9 percent premarket
after the world's largest soup maker reported
higher-than-expected quarterly earnings and raised its full-year