Market Hustle: Stock Futures Rise, Manufacturing in China Falls

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were drifting higher Monday as investors turned to a U.S. manufacturing PMI report following softer-than-expected China manufacturing PMI data, and as Apple (AAPL) shares gained ground amid news of a possible partnership with Comcast (CMCSA).

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were rising 22 points, or 20.23 points above fair value, to 16,243, S&P 500 futures were higher by 3.25 points, or 1.73 points above fair value, to 1,860.25, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 9.3 points, or 4.63 points above fair value, to 3,648.3.
  • Apple shares were advancing more than 1% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is in talks with Comcast about teaming up for a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast's cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web.
  • Herbalife (HLF) was popping more than 7% after announcing that it was nominating three additional Carl Icahn designees to its board. Yelp (YELP) was up more than 3% after shares were hiked to"outperform" from "market perform" at JMP Securities. Also, it was reported that Cisco (CSCO) was planning a global intercloud network of public, private and hybrid cloud environments as well as plans to invest more than $1 billion to expand its cloud business during the next two years.
  • The U.S. economic calendar was light Monday. The Markit PMI manufacturing index for March is expected at 9:45 a.m. EDT. Also expected are appearances by Federal Reserve Gov. Jeremy Stein at 9 a.m. and Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher, will speak about forward guidance, at 1:45 p.m.
  • The flash Markit/HSBC China Manufacturing PMI showed a decline to an eight-month low of 48.1 in March. On a positive note, new export orders increased for the first time in four months, while the weak headline PMI data helped sparked stimulus chatter.
  • The flash eurozone PMI Composite Output Index fell to a 2-month low of 53.2 in March.
  • International markets were mixed. The FTSE 100 was down 0.35%, the DAX in Germany was off 0.6%, the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished up 1.77%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 1.91%.
  • Benchmark U.S. stock indices closed lower Friday, as investors balanced data showcasing the strength of the economic recovery against the nervousness around a hike in rate guidance from the Federal Reserve. Volatility played a role in Friday's market action due to options expirations.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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