Day Ahead: Quarter Final

 | Mar 31, 2014 | 8:30 AM EDT
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U.S. stock futures were on the rise Monday morning, the final trading day of what has been the weakest quarter for the market since the end of 2012.

Wall Street is looking ahead to a major round of economic data this week that includes global purchasing mangers indices, U.S. weekly jobless claims and the all-important nonfarm payrolls report.

To start, at 9:45 a.m. ET comes the Chicago PMI, which measures regional economic activity. Analysts expect the index to dip to 59 in March from 59.8 in February. And the Dallas Federal Reserve's manufacturing survey is expected to rise to 3.0 in March after a slip to 0.3 the previous month. The report comes out at 10:30 a.m.

Also, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to appear at a community reinvestment conference in Chicago at 9:55 a.m.

Overseas, European markets showed resilience in recent trading following a report that said inflation was falling in the eurozone. This, in turn, fueled speculation of increased monetary stimulus. Asian markets were mostly positive ahead of Chinese PMI data.

In company news, Action Alerts PLUS holding Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said it is selling its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics unit to private-equity firm Carlyle Group (CG) for $4 billion.

Elsewhere, shares of drugmaker Novartis (NVS) were higher in premarket trading on positive results for a heart-failure drug, while Forest Labs (FRX) announced upbeat results in a study of an antipsychotic drug.

Wedbush upgraded shares of Lululemon (LULU) and Panera Breads (PNRA) this morning in separate ratings actions, while BlackBerry (BBRY) shares were downgraded by Credit Suisse.

And food producer Cal-Maine (CALM) beat quarterly profit estimates by a wide margin.



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