Wall Street shares seen higher

(BestGrowthStock) – Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 rose 0.5 to 0.7 percent, pointing to a higher start to Wall Street on Monday.

In corporate news, American International Group Inc (AIG.N: ) agreed to sell its Asian life insurance unit to Britain’s Prudential Plc (PRU.L: ) for about $35.5 billion, in a deal that would help the U.S. government get back billions of its bailout money, sources familiar with the matter said.

In Frankfurt, AIG shares (AIG.F: ) were up 4.7 percent.

Germany’s Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE: ) on Sunday said it agreed to buy U.S. biotech tool maker Millipore Corp (MIL.N: ) for around $6 billion in cash, as the company looks to build its lab equipment business.

On Saturday, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: ) (BRKb.N: ) said fourth-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) surged, helped by derivatives bets tied to global stock markets, though operating profit fell 40 percent as the weakened economy weighed on several businesses.

On the earnings front for Monday, CMS Energy (CMS.N: ), Edison International (EIX.N: ), El Paso (EP.N: ) and Rowan (RDC.N: ) are all reporting fourth-quarter results.

Oshkosh Corp (OSK.N: ), which makes specialty military vehicles, could see its stock price decline by at least 20 percent, after huge gains in the past year and potential cutbacks in military spending, according to the financial weekly Barron’s.

On the economic front, investors may watch the Commerce Dept release of January personal income and consumption data at 1330 GMT, while at 1500 GMT, the Institute for Supply Management releases its February manufacturing index and the Commerce Dept releases January construction spending.

But, the main economic event this week will be U.S. monthly nonfarm-payrolls data for February on Friday. The median forecast in a Reuters’ poll is for nonfarm payrolls to slide by 50,000 positions, with the jobless rate rising to 9.8 percent from January’s 9.7 percent.

In politics, democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress voiced confidence on Sunday they will have the votes, possibly within a couple of months or so, to pass landmark legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.

Marathon weekend negotiations in the U.S. Senate on financial reform failed to result in a bipartisan breakthrough, with disagreement over how much power to give a consumer watchdog office still a key hurdle.

Two key Republicans have been urging the U.S. House of Representatives to speed up a public hearing to investigate the administration’s bailout of home funding giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Oil rose more than 1 percent and topped $80 a barrel on Monday, amid threats by Iran that it could cut off energy supplies to Europe, although prices later eased on worries about slowing demand in China.

Asian shares rose on Monday, boosted by mining stocks after a massive earthquake in Chile, the world’s top copper producer, and on signs that Greece’s debt crisis could be easing.

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn is due to visit Athens on Monday for talks with Greek officials about the crisis, which has rocked Europe’s debt market and undermined investors’ confidence in the common euro currency.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) gained 0.8 percent, with commodity stocks the major gainers, while sterling fell to a nine-month low against the dollar.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) gained on Friday, capping their best monthly advance since November as data showed the economy grew a tad better than expected in the fourth quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) edged up 0.04 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: ) added 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) gained 0.2 percent.


(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

Wall Street shares seen higher