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) -- Stock futures were eyeing a firm start to the week on expectations U.S. home contract signings improved in March, a positive sign for housing demand and momentum for the economic recovery.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were up 5 points, or 4.36 points above fair value, to 1,581.5.

Markets also appeared buoyed by indications central banks around the world will continue implementing measures to stimulate their respective economies. The U.S.

Federal Reserve

is scheduled to make an announcement following its two-day policy meeting that ends on Wednesday while the European Central Bank is expected to do the same on Thursday.

"The recent data flow has been weaker in both America and the Eurozone but stock markets have remained resilient," Mansoor Mohi-uddin, head of foreign exchange strategy at UBS in Singapore, said in an investor note Monday. "The Federal Open Market Committee looks set to continue with its third round of quantitative easing. The ECB's Governing Council is also likely to cut its benchmark refinance rate by 25bps to 0.50% according to UBS Economics."

The National Association of Realtors is expected to report at 10 a.m. EDT Monday that its pending home sales index indicated that contract signings rose 1% in March after falling 0.4% in February.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported personal spending ticked up 0.2% last month after increasing 0.7% the previous month, and that personal income rose 0.2% in March after gaining 1.1% in February. Personal spending was forecast to be unchanged and personal income was seen rising 0.4% according to a survey of economists by Thomson Reuters.



was soaring 20% to $31.08 in premarket trading. The contraceptive devices maker is being acquired by Germany's Bayer for $1.1 billion, or $31 a share in cash, a 19.7% premium over the stock's closing price on Friday.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International


was adding 2.52% to $75 and

Actavis Inc.


was popping 5.15% to $106.14 amid reports that their merger talks have been put on hold over disagreements on the terms of the deal.

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals


shares were down 2% to $15.69 after the company

on Monday bought

privately held

Actient Holdings,

a marketer of urology products, for $585 million in cash plus Auxilium stock contingencies and warrants.

Futures for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

were rising 46 points, or 44.45 points above fair value, to 14,695. Futures for the


were up 10.75 points, or 7.6 points above fair value, to 2,841.25.

The DAX in Germany was up 0.23% and the FTSE 100 in the UK was down 0.05%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 2/32, raising the yield to 1.674%. The dollar was down 0.37% to $82.20 according to the

U.S. dollar index.

June crude oil futures were rising 42 cents to $93.42 and June gold futures were gaining $18.70 to $1,472.30 an ounce.

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Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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Andrea Tse