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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Climb After Weekly Gain as Apple Rises

March 24 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures advanced, following the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s gain last week.

Apple Inc. added 1.2 percent in early New York trading as the Wall Street Journal reported that the company has held talks with Comcast Corp., America’s largest cable operator, about streaming live and on-demand television. Herbalife Ltd. jumped 7 percent after it agreed to nominate three people proposed by billionaire Carl Icahn to its board.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring in June climbed 0.3 percent to 1,861.9 at 7:45 a.m. in New York. The equity benchmark rose 1.4 percent last week. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts gained 32 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,253 today.

“U.S. futures are pointing slightly higher, looking to carry on last week’s positive momentum,” Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London, wrote in an e- mail. “Investors are for the moment not concerned by geopolitical events and are remaining more U.S. centric. Economic data to be released later this week should add further color to the strength of the still nascent U.S. recovery.”

U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Europe as Russia, which completed its annexation of Crimea last week, positioned its armed forces on the border with eastern Ukraine. U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph that the troop buildup means the crisis may worsen, calling the situation the most serious risk to Europe’s security this century.

Manufacturing Activity

A report from Markit Economics Ltd. at 9:45 a.m. will probably show U.S. manufacturing activity slowed this month. The index dropped to 56.5 from 57.1 in February, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

A Commerce Department report tomorrow will show new house sales fell to 445,000 in February from 468,000 in January, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Apple added 1.2 percent to $539.38. The newspaper reported that Comcast has discussed providing preferential access to its cables for video content sent to Apple’s set-top boxes. The WSJ cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Herbalife jumped 7 percent to $53. The nutrition and weight-loss company said that it will nominate the three people at its annual general meeting on April 29. If investors approve the nominees, Icahn will have five of the 13 board members.

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