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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Rise Amid Pfizer, GE Takeover Activity

April 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures rose, following the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s decline last week, amid an increase in mergers-and-acquisitions activity.

Pfizer Inc. advanced in early New York trading after proposing to buy AstraZeneca Plc for about 58.8 billion pounds ($98.7 billion). General Electric Co. gained 0.6 percent after Siemens AG made a competing offer to take over Alstom SA. Technology companies including Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. rebounded in early New York trading after last week’s selloff.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring in June climbed 0.4 percent to 1,866.6 at 7:23 a.m. in New York. The equity gauge declined last week, erasing gains in the final session, as disappointing results from Amazon.com Inc. triggered a selloff in technology shares and tensions over Ukraine intensified. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts increased 57 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,381 today.

“Now that we are five years away from the last recession, the corporate sector has become more bullish and wants to put some excess liquidity and cash to work,” Gerhard Schwarz, the Munich, Germany-based head of equity strategy at Baader Bank AG, said by telephone. “This could be one of the positive catalysts for equities this year. Valuations have been the prime driver for equities for the last two to three years, but if we have an M&A frenzy, that would help keep valuations stable at these high levels.”

The S&P 500 traded at 15.9 times estimated earnings on April 25. The gauge’s multiple has surged 44 percent since reaching an almost three-year low of 11 times in October 2011.

Economic Reports

A report by the National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. in Washington may show pending home sales rose 0.7 percent in March from February, when they fell 0.8 percent, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Separate data from the Dallas Federal Reserve at 10:30 a.m. may show its general economic index increased to 6 this month, the highest since September, from 4.9 in March, analysts in a separate Bloomberg poll predicted. Readings greater than zero signal expansion.

Investors will also look at developments in Ukraine as the U.S. and European Union prepare to impose new sanctions as early as today on Russian companies and individuals close to President Vladimir Putin over the escalating crisis. Representatives of the 28 EU nations meet today to widen a list of people subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

Pfizer Gains

Pfizer added 1.5 percent to $31.20. The world’s largest drugmaker is still interested in a deal after AstraZeneca spurned its earlier offer. Pfizer proposed buying the London- based company on Jan. 5 for 46.61 pounds a share in cash and stock, and AstraZeneca declined to pursue negotiations, the New York-based company said in a statement today. The bid was about 14 percent above AstraZeneca’s closing price on April 25.

GE rose 0.6 percent to $26.75. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt will meet French President Francois Hollande today as he seeks to push through GE’s offer for Alstom. The French government can intervene to protect companies deemed to be of national importance from being acquired.

Under Siemens’s rival proposal, Alstom would get some of the German company’s transport assets plus cash in exchange for its power business, according to people familiar with the matter. Siemens will match or beat the financial terms of GE’s offer, which values Alstom at about $13 billion, they said.

Google, the search-engine provider, climbed 0.6 percent to $526.10 in New York, while social-network operator Facebook increased 1.1 percent to $58.37. Twitter Inc. added 1.6 percent to $42.29. All three companies declined last week.

Forest Laboratories Inc. may move. The New York-based maker of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and blood pressure agreed to buy Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc. for at least $95 a share. Furiex, the maker of a gastrointestinal medicine that’s been looking for a buyer, closed on April 25 at $80.15.

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