* Dollar General offers to buy Family Dollar
* Russia says humanitarian convoy issue resolved, but no
* Futures up: Dow 88 pts, S&P 10.5 pts, Nasdaq 22 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 18 U.S. stock index futures were
higher on Monday, as the threat of an escalation of the conflict
in Ukraine appeared to lessen and the latest round of merger
action supported equities.
* Russia said all issues related to it sending a
humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved but said no
progress has been made in talks toward a ceasefire or political
solution to the fighting in the east of the country after talks
between Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine on Sunday.
* But the region remained unsettled as Ukraine accused
pro-Russian rebels on Monday of hitting a refugee convoy of
buses with rocket fire near the eastern city of Luhansk, but the
separatists denied responsibility.
* Merger and acquisition action continues to flourish.
Discount retailer Dollar General Corp offered to buy
Family Dollar Stores Inc for $8.95 billion, trumping an
offer by Dollar Tree Inc. Family Dollar shares gained
5.2 percent to $80 before the opening bell while Dollar General
jumped 7.9 percent to $62.
* Sensors and electrical controls maker Sensata Technologies
Holding NV said it would buy the Schrader group of
companies for an enterprise value of $1 billion.
* Ingersoll-Rand Plc, a maker of heating and air
conditioning systems, said it would buy Cameron International
Corp's centrifugal compression unit for $850 million.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 10.5 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 88 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures
added 22 points.
* In a relatively light week for economic data, investors
will closely monitor the Aug. 21-23 annual meeting of top
central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for possible insight
about the path for monetary policy in the months ahead.
* Earnings season will effectively draw to a close this week
with the results from a host of retailers, including Home Depot
, Target Corp and Gap Inc.
* According to Thomson Reuters data through Friday, of the
466 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 68
percent have topped analyst expectations, besting the 63 beat
rate since 1994 and the 67 percent rate for the past four
* European shares were higher on the Ukraine situation but
Asian stocks stalled after notching their biggest weekly rise in
nearly five months last week.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)