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Pre-Market Primer: Omnicon, Publicis Form Largest Ad Agency; Markets Dip as Monster Week of Economic Data Begins


Plus, Amazon announces plans to add workers.

Stock futures are lower this morning, kicking off a major week of economic data and a Federal Reserve meeting.

Before the opening bell, major US indices pointed to a lower open. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.19% to 15,469 while futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) sank 0.24% to 1,682.60 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures fell 0.20% to 3,064.25.

After trading hours start, some data on US housing and manufacturing will be released. Pending home sales, a leading indicator that counts home sales where the contract is signed but not finalized, is expected to point to a slowdown in June. The index is likely to have declined by 1.4% after rising 6.7% in May. The Dallas Fed's Texas manufacturing survey is forecast to slow by 0.1 point to 6.4.

Japan's Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:.NI225) fell 3.32% as the yen strengthened to 97.86 to the dollar and reports suggest that a proposed sales tax will be delayed. European stocks are also in the red despite some encouraging data. Italy's manufacturing and mining survey rose for a third straight month in July to 91.7, the highest level since November 2011. The UK's retail sales survey jumped 16 points to 17 this month. CBI Distributive Trades said that the heat wave spurred sales of summer clothes.

Later this week, the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and Bank of England all meet for interest rate and monetary policy discussions. On Wednesday, US GDP will be recalculated to come into line with international standards including research & development and pension income as a part of the economy. This might result in as much as a 3% upward revision. Several other key data points will be released as well, topping off the week with the all-important Employment Situation. The BLS is expected to report that the US added 185,000 jobs in July.

In company news, two deals caused stocks to move this morning. Omnicon Group (NYSE:OMC) agreed to merge with France's Publicis Groupe (EPA:PUB) to form the world's largest advertising firm. The resulting company will have a market cap of $35 billion.The Wall Street Journal writes that the merged company could hold more clout to compete with Web-based advertisers such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Omnicon's shares are up 3.8% in pre-market trading.

Shares of Irish pharmaceutical company Elan (NYSE:ELN) rose 7.17% after agreeing to be bought by US rival Perrigo (NYSE:PRGO) for $8.6 billion.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced plans to add 5,000 workers for its fulfillment centers and 2,000 customer service workers

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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