Stock futures saw small gains, setting equities up for an open close near the flatline on Monday in a quiet start to the week.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.05%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures increased 0.13%, and Nasdaq futures grew 0.08%.
Ford (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report confirmed on Monday that CEO Mark Fields is choosing to retire on Monday amid pressure due to a share price that has fallen more than 10% year to date and more than 17% over the past 12 months. Ford will promote current Ford Smart Mobility Chairman Jim Hackett to the top position. Monday's announcement ends Fields' three-year run as CEO with the company as well as his 28-year career at the automaker based in Dearborn, Mich.
The stock of the U.S. automaker has declined almost 40% since Fields took over the company. Fields' ousting come just weeks after Dearborn-based Ford delivered a dire set of first-quarter results, which brought about yet more share price weakness.
Ford shares were up more than 2% premarket on the news.
Lockheed Martin (LMT) - Get Lockheed Martin Corporation Reportand Boeing (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report shares rose in early premarket trading Monday after both companies were seen walking away as winners from the weekend's Saudi deals bonanza, which saw Donald Trump and representatives for American companies inking more than $350 billion of deals. Lockheed won contracts worth around $28 billion during the state visit, which will see Saudi Arabia buying air and missile defense equipment from it, along with navy ships, aircraft and helicopters. Boeing was also another big winner after it said that the Saudis have agreed to buy a series of new aircraft, weapons systems and helicopters.
Trump is in the middle of a nine-day trip, his first abroad since assuming office in January. Trump has arrived in Israel and will also visit Vatican City during this trip. The trip comes at an inopportune time for the president after two weeks of bombshells tied to his campaign's relations with Russia during the election.
A senior White House adviser close to the president is a person of interest in the investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia, The Washington Post reported on Friday afternoon. The report also indicated that investigators are shifting into a "more overtly active phase" of discovery with the "intensity of the probe ... expected to accelerate in the coming weeks."
A separate report from The New York Times, published nearly simultaneously, said Donald Trump told Russian officials last week that the former FBI Director James Comey was a "real nut job" and that firing him had relieved him of pressure over the investigation. The latest allegation cements the notion that Trump fired Comey to impede the Russia investigation, rather than the original justification over his handling of Hillary Clinton's emails.
The Federal Reserve is in focus on Monday with several speeches from members of the central bank scheduled. Fedspeak could serve to prime markets for a potential interest rate hike in June. Markets already have high expectations for a move at the next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the second of three expected rate increases this year.
Wall Street has priced in a nearly 74% chance of a 25-basis-point increase to the federal funds rate when the FOMC meets June 13-14, according to CME Group fed funds futures.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will deliver welcoming remarks at the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Conference in Minneapolis at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday, while Fed Gov. Lael Brainard will give the keynote address. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will discuss "The Link Between Physical and Economic Well-Being" at the Jefferson College of Health Professions and Jefferson College of Pharmacy Commencement Ceremony in Philadelphia at 10 a.m.
Clariant (CLZNY) shares surged Monday after the Swiss chemicals group said it agreed to an all-share "merger of equals" with U.S.-based Huntsman (HUN) - Get Huntsman Corporation Report that would create a company valued at about $20 billion. A merged HuntsmanClariant would have annual revenue of about $13.2 billion, the companies said in a statement, based on pro-forma 2016 sales and adjusted operating profit of $2.3 billion. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.
Nutraceutical International (NUTR) surged nearly 50% in premarket trading after agreeing to be acquired by private-equity firm HGGC. The firm will purchase Nutraceutical stock for $41.80 in cash, a 49% premium to its close on Friday.
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