* Indexes at all-time highs, last week was best in months
* Apple up in premarket after iPhone deal with China Mobile
* Tiffany & Co cuts outlook following Dutch court ruling
* Futures up: Dow 44 pts, S&P 6.6 pts, Nasdaq 20.75 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 23 U.S. stock index futures rose
on Monday, indicating that last week's rally would continue,
with Apple Inc surging on a distribution deal with
Activity is expected to be thin this week, with many market
participants out for the Christmas holiday. Equity markets will
close early on Tuesday and will be closed all of Wednesday. The
light volume could amplify market volatility.
Tech titan Apple said Sunday it had signed a long-awaited
agreement with China Mobile Ltd to sell
iPhones through the world's biggest network of mobile phone
users, a deal that could add billions of dollars to its revenue.
"This is just good news, and a much bigger strategic deal
than had been forecast," said Oliver Pursche, president of the
Suffern, New York-based Gary Goldberg Financial Services, which
owns the stock.
"Apple is incredibly undervalued at this stage, and this
deal can help it trade well beyond $600 early in 2014."
Shares of Apple jumped 3.7 percent to $569.12 in premarket
trading, and the stock's massive market capitalization helped
lift Nasdaq futures. U.S.-listed shares of China Mobile rose 1.5
percent to $52.38.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.6 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 added 44
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 20.75 points.
Last week, equities gained their most in months, and both
the Dow and S&P 500 ended Friday at all-time closing highs. The
week's rally was fueled by strong economic data and a U.S.
Federal Reserve decision to begin trimming its stimulus program,
which removed a major source of uncertainty for the market. The
Fed also said its key interest rate would stay at rock-bottom
longer than previously promised.
The S&P has soared more than 27 percent this year, thanks
largely to the Fed's stimulus, and is on track for its best year
November personal income and spending data is on tap for
8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT), with both seen rising 0.5 percent. The
final December reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of
Michigan index on consumer sentiment is due at 9:55 a.m.
Analysts expect a reading of 83, up from 82.5 last month.
Tiffany & Co cut its full-year profit outlook on
Sunday after a Dutch arbitration court ruling that it must pay
Swatch Group $448.79 million in damages over a failed
Retail stocks will be in focus in the final shopping days
before Christmas. In a sign that this season may be a difficult
one for the group, U.S. consumers shopped less on the final
weekend before Christmas despite deeper discounts, according to
analytics firm RetailNext.
"We're a little nervous about the holiday season," said
Pursche. "Sales have been strong, but there has been significant
discounting going on, especially in the middle-end section. That
could hurt the bottom line."
Target Corp may see particular trouble in the wake
of a massive data breach. The Wall Street Journal reported that
the retailer suffered reduced customer traffic over the weekend,
which is one of the busiest of the year.
Wall Street rose Friday as unexpectedly strong growth data
boosted confidence that the economic recovery was gathering