US STOCKS-Futures edge up but resistance seen ahead

* S&P futures trade in tight range below 1,333

* Southwest falls after planes grounded for inspection

* Futures: Dow up 15 pts; S&P up 2.5 pts; Nasdaq up 9 pts
(Updates with grounding of Southwest planes, Pfizer selling
unit, updates prices, comment, byline)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures
edged higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 facing a level where
selling has clustered in recent sessions.

S&P 500 futures traded in a tight range below 1,333. The
benchmark has been unable to close above that level since
mid-February, although it was briefly pierced on Friday.

That level is double the 12-year low hit in March 2009 and
is not far from 1,344, the S&P’s 2011 high and its highest
since June 2008.

On Friday, the S&P closed its best two-week period since
December and the Dow industrials (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) hit its highest
intraday level since June 2008.

“The speed with which we moved up is putting a bit of a
curb on a further rally,” said Rick Meckler, president of
investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

“Certainly there are plenty of traders who will be using
this runup to try and take profits and get back at a better
point. It’s hard to maintain the speed of this advance,” he
said.

The lack of significant economic data on Monday, nuclear
and other quake-related problems in Japan and unrest in Libya,
Syria and other states in the oil-rich region could translate
into low volumes in Wall Street. Last week was the lowest in
volume so far in 2011.

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 2.5 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures (DJc1: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 15
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) added 9 points.

Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N: Quote, Profile, Research) shares dropped 4.7 percent in
light premarket trading after planes were grounded for
inspection. A U.S. safety investigator said on Sunday evidence
of widespread fuselage cracks was found on a jet that made an
emergency landing with a hole in the cabin. For details see
[ID:nWEN0436].

In the latest M&A activity, Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1.1
percent to $20.60 after the drugmaker agreed to sell its
Capsugel unit, the world’s largest maker of hard capsules, to
private equity firm KKR & Co (KKR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for nearly $2.4 billion.

Some nervousness over the political unrest in the Middle
East and North Africa continued to linger in financial markets,
with Brent crude (LCOc1: Quote, Profile, Research) rising to a 2-1/2 year high above $119
on the worries.

In other company news, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and
IntercontinentalExchange Inc (ICE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are expected to face
serious hurdles to their bid for NYSE Euronext (NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research).
[ID:nN01259828].

Separately, Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) is holding off on
making any decision as to whether to raise its rival offer for
NYSE Euronext, two sources familiar with Deutsche Boerse’s
thinking said on Monday. [ID:nLDE7330LT]. Shares of NYSE
Euronext dipped 1.5 percent in light premarket trading.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said on Sunday
it had not struck a deal with BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research)(BP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to allow the oil
company to resume deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico,
refuting a press report. [ID:nN03212134].
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Futures edge up but resistance seen ahead