Stock Futures Point to Upbeat June Start

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to an upbeat start to June as investors looked for signs into monetary policy ahead of a spate of economic reports this week including jobs and manufacturing. The S&P 500 posted a seventh-straight monthly gain in May.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 6 points, or 5.96 points above fair value, to 1,635.

Colonial Properties Trust ( CLP) was popping more than 8% to $23.90 in premarketing trading, while Mid-America Apartment Communities ( MAA) was unchanged, as the two real estate investment trusts merge in an $8.6 billion stock swap agreement, creating a company with a combined market capitalization of about $5.1 billion.

Cracker Barrel ( CBRL) was advancing nearly 4% to $93.01 after the restaurant chain hiked its full-year outlook and quarterly dividend after booking quarterly earnings that exceeded consensus expectations by eights cents at $1.02 a share. Revenue also topped expectations.

Rio Tinto ( RIO) was rising 2.83% to $43.93 after the Wall Street Journal reported that the mining giant's Canadian iron ore operations have been attracting bidders, possibly Glencore Xstrata and Blackstone Group. Rio Tinto has about a $4 billion stake in the Canadian operations.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 79 points, or 77.43 points above fair value, to 15,179. Futures for the Nasdaq were higher by 10.25 points, or 10.09 points above fair value, to 2,990.5.

Automakers such as Ford ( F) and General Motors ( GM) are scheduled to report sales for May on Monday.

Forecasters anticipate that the overall sales gain for the month will be in the high single digits, with Kelley Blue Book at 6%, J.D. Power at 8% and Jefferies at 9%. Jefferies analyst Peter Nesvold projected that Ford and Chrysler sales will rise about 10% in May, while GM will gain 7%.

U.S. stocks dropped Friday as concerns the Federal Reserve would scale back its monetary stimulus measures outweighed data that revealed stronger-than-anticipated consumer sentiment. Still, the S&P 500 managed to book its seventh-consecutive monthly gain, climbing 2.1% in May.

One of the most highly anticipated reports this week is the May nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to show an increase of 170,000 in May, up from 165,000 in April. The jobless rate is predicted to stay at 7.5%.

The Institute for Supply Management is expected by economists to report that the ISM manufacturing survey for May remained at 50.7 from the prior month. The report is due at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday.

At the same time, the Census Bureau is predicted to say that constructing spending rose by 0.8% in April after dipping by 1.7% in March.

Asian markets finished lower Monday amid uncertainties about the Federal Reserve's outlook on stimulus and as the HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index showed a decline to 49.2 in May, the lowest level since October 2012 and below April's final 50.4 estimate.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed down 0.49% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished off 3.72% on the heels of Friday's U.S. market declines.

European markets eased off intraday lows after Markit's eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers' index increased to 48.3 in May from April's 46.7. Still, levels remained below the 50 level dividing growth and contraction for the 22nd month. The FTSE 100 in London was slipping 0.29% while the DAX in Germany turned positive, rising 0.23%.

Light sweet crude oil for July delivery was up 9 cents to $92.06 a barrel. August gold futures were rising $3.60 to $1,396.60 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 2/32, raising the yield to 2.163%. The dollar was down 0.38% to $83.06 according to the U.S. dollar index .

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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