US STOCKS-Futures little changed, home sales data eyed

* BP expected to install an American as chief executive

* Glaxo dips on report of approach to Genzyme

* Futures down: Dow 9 pts; S&P 2 pts; Nasdaq 4.25 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates prices, adds quote, byline)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, July 26 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures were
little changed on Monday ahead of data on new home sales,
following the best three-week period on the S&P 500 Index in
almost a year.

S&P futures hovered around 1,100, a key level broken by the
benchmark on Friday for the first time in a month. Some
technical measures of both the S&P 500 (.SPX: ) and S&P futures
(SPc1: ) are sending bullish signals, but charts also show
further resistance roughly 1 percent above current levels.
Recent economic data has also cut into the positive sentiment.

BP Plc (BP.L: )(BP.N: ) was up 2.7 percent in premarket
trading as the British oil giant is expected to install an
American troubleshooter as chief executive in the next 24
hours, replacing Tony Hayward, who has come under fire for his
handling of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
[ID:nN26145842]

Investors will eye the U.S. Commerce Department’s new home
sales data for June, at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). Economists in a
Reuters survey forecast a total of 320,000 annualized units in
June compared with 300,000 in May.

“Last month (home sales) data was down rather sharply, and
we could get a bit of a surprise,” said Peter Cardillo, chief
market economist at Avalon Partners in New York. “Data might
actually be on the positive side while still obviously
indicating a weak housing market.”

Cardillo said if economic numbers this week fall roughly in
line with market expectations, “that might set the stage for
the market to focus on the fact the sour numbers we’ve seen are
reflecting a soft patch and probably the economy will pick up
steam.”

S&P 500 futures fell 2 points and were about even with 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 (DJc1: ) lost 9
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) shed 4.25 points.

Pharmaceutical stocks will be in the spotlight. The Wall
Street Journal said Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline Plc
(GSK.L: )(GSK.N: ) had recently made “a very casual approach,” to
Genzyme Corp (GENZ.O: ) but industry insiders and analysts said
Glaxo’s chief executive was unlikely to pursue a deal.
U.S.-traded Glaxo shares dipped 1.4 percent to $35.99
premarket, and Genzyme added 4 percent to $65 in light volume.

Sources familiar with the matter said on Friday that
Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA: )(SNY.N: ) was sounding out Genzyme,
prompting a 15 percent jump in the U.S. biotech company’s
market value to $16.7 billion. [ID:nLDE66P0JJ]

Legg Mason Inc (LM.N: ), Fluor Corp. (FLR.N: ), Masco Corp
(MAS.N: ), Plum Creek Timber Co Inc (PCL.N: ) and Range Resources
Corp (RRC.N: ) are due to report results on Monday.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose on Friday as General Electric Cos (GE.N: )
dividend increase boosted investor sentiment. The Dow Jones
industrial average gained 102.32 points, or 0.99 percent, to
10,424.62, and The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) added 23.58
points, or 1.05 percent, to 2,269.47.

The S&P 500 rose 8.99 points, or 0.82 percent, to 1,102.66,
closing above the key 1,100 level for the first time in a month
after coming close but failing four times in July.

Stock Market Basics

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Futures little changed, home sales data eyed