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Stocks point to higher open after recent merger boom

First look… Stock futures were modestly higher ahead of the open Tuesday morning. A recent spate of merger activity has created some optimism among investors, but the lack of negotiation in Congress over looming budget cuts may limit upside this week.

In Europe, stocks were higher as the Stoxx 600 Europe index rose 0.6% after a report on German economic expectations showed a better-than-expected increase.

Asian stocks slid after local Chinese governments imposed restrictions on home purchases. Japanese stocks slipped after government officials denied reports that the government was considering purchasing foreign bonds.

In the commodities market crude oil futures were mixed this morning with Brent gaining 0.07 to $117.48. Natural gas fell 0.1 to trade at $3.153. Precious metals are also mixed this morning with gold down $24.40 at $1,609.0 and silver losing 0.161 to trade at $30.00. The dollar gained ground against the euro and the British pound but posted losses versus the Japanese yen.

In pre-market trading Best Buy (BBY), Tenet Healthcare (THC), and CA inc. (CA) are up, UnitedHealth Group (UNH), WellPoint (WLP) and Cigna (CI) are down. [InvestorsKeyhole, various news and data sources]

Bobby Raines

Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at braines@marketintelligencecenter.com or follow him on Twitter: @BRatMICenter.