* Bond markets closed for holiday, damping stocks activity
* Transocean reaches deal with Icahn in proxy battle
* ViroPharma shares soar on acquisition news
* Indexes up: S&P 2.4 pts, Dow 23 pts, Nasdaq 2 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Nov 11 U.S. stock index futures were
slightly higher on Monday with the Dow index set for another
record while trading volume was likely to be quiet due to the
Veterans Day holiday.
Gains were likely to be capped as investors take a breather
from a rally that has taken the S&P 500 higher for the fifth
week in a row. The benchmark index rose on Friday after an
unexpectedly strong payrolls report, supporting the view the
U.S. economy is stronger than previously thought.
While the overall market has been on the rise, relative
weakness was seen in technology and small cap stocks in recent
weeks. The Russell 2000 index of mid- and small cap
stocks rose 0.4 percent for the week while the Nasdaq
lost 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 ended up 0.5 percent.
"We expect to see another upside attempt develop in the
coming 5-10 trading days but continue to monitor the relative
performance of the Russell 2000," which has been underperforming
the S&P, said Robert Sluymer, analyst at RBC Capital Markets LLC
in New York.
"Further relative deterioration would be a yellow flag for
the broader 12-month equity rally."
Some investors are also concerned that the solid jobs report
could prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to start tapering its
stimulus efforts earlier than expected. The market will look for
more clues on Fed policy when Janet Yellen, nominated by
President Barack Obama to succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke,
appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.4 points and were slightly
higher than 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 23 points and Nasdaq 100 futures up 2 points.
U.S. government offices and bond markets are closed on
Monday for Veterans Day and no major data or earnings expected.
European shares edged higher as investors considered the
implications of a strong U.S. jobs report. The FTSEurofirst 300
rose 0.1 percent at 1,296.86 points while the euro
zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 firmed 0.2 percent to
Transocean Ltd shares rose 2 percent in premarket
trade after the company said it reached an agreement with Carl
Icahn in which the offshore driller will pay out a dividend and
reduce the number of board seats.
Tesla Motors Inc shares were up 1.9 percent in
premarket trade after the stock suffered its worst week since
Apple Inc is developing new iPhone designs,
including bigger screens with curved glass and enhanced sensors
that can detect different levels of pressure, Bloomberg reported
on Sunday, citing an unnamed person familiar with the plans. The
stock was up 0.3 percent in premarket trade.
London-listed Shire is buying ViroPharma
for $4.2 billion, attracted by a pipeline of potentially
lucrative drugs to treat rare diseases. ViroPharma shares jumped
26 percent in premarket trade.