US STOCKS-Futures little changed, resistance ahead

* S&P futures trade near key resistance level

* Southwest slips in light volume after damage to plane

* Futures: Dow down 4 pts; S&P up 3 pts; Nasdaq up 8.5 pts

NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were
little changed 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 point 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 the 1,344, the S&P’s 2011 high and its
highest since June 2008.

* The lack of significant economic data on Monday, nuclear
and other quake-related problems in Japan and unrest in Arab
oil-producing states could translate in 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 3 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) dipped 4
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) added 8.5 points.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) hit 12,419.71,
its highest intraday level since June 2008, before closing on
Friday at 12,376.72.

* Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N: Quote, Profile, Research) shares dropped 5.7 percent
in light premarket trading after a U.S. safety investigator
said on Sunday evidence of widespread fuselage cracks was found
on a jet that made an emergency landing in Arizona with a hole
in the cabin. For details see [ID:nN03202402].

* 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).

* 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].

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Futures little changed, resistance ahead