Wall Street futures signal flat to higher opening

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to higher
opening for Wall Street on Monday, with futures for the S&P 500
(SPc1: Quote, Profile, Research) up 0.1 percent, Nasdaq futures (NDc1: Quote, Profile, Research) up 0.1 percent and
Dow Jones futures (DJc1: Quote, Profile, Research) trading flat by 0841 GMT.

* Shares on Wall Street started the second quarter on a
solid footing on Friday, ending the session higher on optimism
over the recovery in the labour market after data showed the
unemployment rate fell to a two-year low.

* 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.

* The robust jobs data has prompted some caution in equity
markets as expectations grow that the Federal Reserve could
scale back ultra loose monetary policy in the second half of the
year as the economy shows signs of recovery and inflation
expectations pick up.

* Monetary tightening expectations have been fuelled by
hawkish talk from some Fed officials in the past weeks, though
influential member William Dudley said recently that there was
no need for the central bank to reverse course.[ID:nN01154414]

* The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to lead the
way among Western central banks to shift rates higher at a
meeting later this week.

* 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 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:nWEA2573]

* The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said on Sunday
it had not struck a deal with BP (BP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to allow the oil company
to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, refuting a
press report. [ID:nN03212134]

* Abbott Laboratories Inc’s (ABT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) experimental Absorb
heart stent, designed to dissolve and thereby restore the blood
vessel’s natural flexibility, has proven safe and effective a
year after being implanted in patients, researchers said.

* In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research)
index of top shares was higher in early trade, with the
chemicals sector boosted by a pickup in merger and acquisitions
(M&A) activity.
(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Wall Street futures signal flat to higher opening