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Pre-Market: Traders Await US Purchasing Managers' Index; Apple, Comcast Could Partner for Streaming TV

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Tensions over Ukraine pushed European stocks lower.

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Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Monday.

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures fell 0.14% to 16,244. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.19% to 1,860.60. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.27% to 3,648.75.

This morning, traders await HSBC/Markit's US Purchasing Managers' Index data, which is out at 9:45 a.m. Meanwhile, the Chicago Federal Reserve's National Activity Index showed the US economy expanded faster than its historical trend in February, rising sharply to 0.14 from -0.45 in January. We will hear from two Fed voices today: Governor Jeremy Stein will give the opening remarks at a Fed crowdfunding conference at 9:00 a.m., and Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher will give forward guidance in London at 1:45 p.m.

HSBC/Markit reported China's manufacturing PMI fell from 48.5 to 48.1 in March, missing a median estimate of 48.7 predicted by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Asian markets rose after taking slight losses on the news, with stocks ending the session mostly higher. The eurozone's flash composite PMI grew for a ninth straight month led surprisingly by France; the country's output index rose to a 31-month high on expansion in the services sector. However, European stocks moved lower on tensions over Ukraine, as US President Barack Obama arrived at the Hague on Monday after calling an emergency meeting of seven members of the G8 (excluding Russia). Earlier on Monday, Russian troops took control of a Ukrainian marine base in Crimea by force.

In stock news, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are discussing a partnership that would see a streaming television service built into a future version of Apple TV, reports the Wall Street Journal. The new service will connect directly to the cable network and not to the Internet, which becomes slower at peak viewing hours when people are streaming iTunes, Hulu, and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). In pre-market trading, Apple was up 1.12%, while Comcast rose 1.30%.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has won a contract from the South Korean government to produce 40 F-35 jets. Lockheed is expected to receive $6.79 billion in the deal, which will be finalized Q3. South Korea also plans to buy four unmanned aerial drones for $814 million from Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC). Shares of Lockheed were up 0.22% in pre-market trading.

Consumer-goods giant Unilever (NYSE:UN) will auction off its Ragu pasta sauce brand, with Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL), J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM), Pinnacle Foods (NYSE:PF), Hillshire Brands (NYSE:HSH), Post Holdings (NYSE:POST), and Japan's Mizkan Co. all expected to make offers. The first round of bids, set for Friday, is expected to bring in as much as $2 billion. Shares of Unilever were up 0.67% ahead of the opening bell.

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) will invest $1 billion in new cloud computing service that will compete with Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) own cloud computing offering. Shares of Cisco were up 0.18% in pre-market trading.
 
Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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