Stock futures higher in low volume, Fed's Yellen to speak

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By Rodrigo Campos | February 12, 2013 12:42 AM EST

Stock index futures edged higher on Monday, suggesting equities will extend multiyear highs, while low volume and the absence of economic data could make trading volatile and exaggerate moves.

Upbeat U.S. and Chinese data last week helped extend the winning streak of the S&P 500 index to six weeks. The benchmark index is up 6.4 percent so far this year after a steep rally in January that has stalled as the index nears a record high.

No economic data or major earnings reports are scheduled, but Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen is due to speak about the economic recovery at 1 p.m.

Technical indicators are "looking very good" and could give the market a floor Monday, according to Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

He said the market will pay attention to Yellen's speech, but he doesn't expect any deviation from her traditionally dovish monetary policy stance.

S&P 500 futures rose 4 points but were slightly 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 rose 36 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 4.25 points.

Google shares dipped 0.9 percent in premarket trading after it said in a filing former chief executive Eric Schmidt is selling roughly 42 percent of his stake in the Internet search company, a move that could potentially net him $2.51 billion.

Celgene Corp shares rose 2.1 percent in premarket trading to $102.21 after U.S. regulators approved its new drug for patients with multiple myeloma whose disease has worsened after being treated with other cancer drugs.

US Airways shares gained 2.9 percent to $15.18 as an $11 billion merger with AMR Corp appeared closer, people familiar with the matter said. A combination would create the world's largest airline by passenger traffic.

Opposition grew to the $24.4 billion buyout of Dell Inc , the No. 3 personal computer maker, as three of the largest investors joined Southeastern Asset Management on Friday in raising objections. Dell said in a regulatory filing it had considered many strategic options before opting to go private. The buyout is being led by Chief Executive Michael Dell.

Loews Corp could be hit after the hotels, energy and financial services conglomerate reported a fourth-quarter loss. CNA Financial Corp , its largest holding, suffered losses linked to superstorm Sandy.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Kenneth Barry)

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