NEW YORK -
Wall Street was set to open little changed on Monday after posting six weeks of gains, but insurer Aetna's
The European Central Bank sought to quash speculation about the shape of its planned bond-buying program, saying it was misleading to talk about decisions that had not yet been taken. That looked set to pressure the market somewhat as investors anticipate concrete action from the ECB.
Coventry shares jumped 18 percent to $41.30 after Aetna said it will pay a total value of $41.10 per share for the company, putting the deal at a 20.4 percent premium to the stock's Friday closing price. The deal is the latest in a string of multibillion-dollar acquisitions in the U.S. healthcare sector.
The S&P 500 closed its sixth week of gains on Friday, closing in on four-year highs, as investors wait for the European Central Bank to take steps to control the euro crisis in September. Last week the index broke away from the 1,400 level where it had stalled for much of August.
"You can basically see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Jack de Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "We have room ... for the market to trade to 1,500 by the end of the year on the S&P."
The latest edition of Der Spiegel said the ECB is discussing interest rate thresholds for individual euro zone countries with a view to intervening if the premium over German bonds is exceeded. In its latest comments the ECB stopped short of ruling out the report outright.
S&P 500 futures fell 1.2 points but were slightly 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 fell 18 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3 points.
"There is a better feeling out there that there is a sense of more unity growing within the EU, and it is being backed by the ECB," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. "Over the next week or so we are looking at 1,435 to 1,450 on the S&P."
CME Group Inc
Lowe's Cos Inc
Struggling retailer Best Buy Co Inc
The global economic outlook is more uncertain now than at the start of the financial crisis in late 2008, Doug Oberhelman, chief executive of Caterpillar
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)