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Pre-Market: Stocks Move Higher After Crimea Vote; Investors Anticipate Wednesday's FOMC Meeting


European markets were busy with deal activity.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Monday morning. 

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose to 0.53% at 16,076. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.54% to 1,842.80. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, climbing 0.57% to 3,641.50.

A number of economic indicators are expected today. The US Treasury will release the Treasury International Capital, which tracks the flow of financial instruments into and out of the US, at 9:00 a.m. The Fed will release its monthly industrial production index at 9:15 a.m. Consensus is at 0.3% growth for February. The National Association of Home Builders puts out its housing market index at 10:00 a.m., which came in at its lowest reading since May 2013 last month. 

Investors are looking ahead to Wednesday, when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet to set the Fed's monetary policy. The Fed is expected to announce it will continue cutting its monthly asset buying by $10 billion per month. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen will hold her first press conference following the meeting.

After Sunday's referendum in Crimea showed 97% of voters support the region's secession from the Ukraine in favor of Russia, the US called the referendum illegal, and along with the European Union, is expected to issue sanctions on Monday.

Asian stocks were mixed on the news, with notable volatility in Chinese markets. However, European stocks rose during Monday's session, buoyed by heavy deal activity.

Vodafone (NASDAQ:VODfinalized an expected deal with Spanish cable provider Ono SA, purchasing the company for close to $10 billion. Shares of Vodafone were up 1.03% in pre-market trading.

German utility provider RWE AG (FRA:RWE) announced it will sell its oil and gas production unit to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman for $7 billion. DBS Bank (OTCMKTS:DBSDY) will buy Societe Generale's (OTCMKTS:SCGLY) Asian private banking business for $220 million.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba confirmed it will hold what could be the largest initial public offering ever in New York and not in Hong Kong. The IPO is expected to raise as much as $15 billion. The Wall Street Journal called Alibaba a mix of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), and PayPal, with a "dash" of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) owns 3.2% of Alibaba. Shares of Yahoo were up 3.70% in pre-market trading.

Weibo, another Chinese Internet company, which offers a Twitter (NYSE:TWTR)-like messaging service, filed a $500 million IPO in the US on Friday.

Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) will spin off Land's End on April 4 as Sears attempts to manage declining sales and higher operating costs.

Sam Adams (NYSE:SAM), Heineken (AMS:HEIA), and Guinness have withdrawn their sponsorship of Monday's New York St. Patrick's Day Parade because gay and lesbians are not allowed to march openly.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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