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Futures up on oil rise, China stimulus hopes

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday, tracking global markets, as oil prices rose and on rising speculation that China may unveil a fresh stimulus program to prop up its economy.

Oil prices were up for the third straight day, rising to their highest in nearly a month, as speculation intensified that oil producers may try to work out ways to support prices in an oversupplied market. [O/R]

The Chinese blue-chip index CSI300 jumped to a seven-month high on growing optimism of additional stimulus following a series of weak economic data.

Investors are awaiting the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting for clues on when it would raise interest rates. The minutes are due on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.

Robust labor market data and better-than-expected quarterly earnings of U.S. companies could prod the central bank to raise rates sometime this year.

However, traders remain skeptical of a rate hike as U.S. inflation remains below the Fed’s 2 percent target and central banks worldwide unleash stimulus programs to support their economies.

The odds of a hike stand at 9 percent for September and rise to about 41 percent for December, according to CME Group’s Fedwatch tool.

U.S. stocks closed little changed on Friday as weak retail sales numbers dampened the prospects of economic expansion, even as the Nasdaq trudged to a fresh record close.

* Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI.O) shares rose 3.9 percent to $42.73 in premarket trading after billionaire investor Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund bought 3 million shares of the gaming company. The stock was the top percentage gainer among S&P 500 components.

Cyberark (CYBR.O) was down 4.6 percent at $50.50 after Goldman Sachs removed the stock from its “buy” list.

Mid-America Apartment Communities (MAA.N) rose 1.3 percent to $103.50 in light trading after the company said it would acquire Post Properties (PPS.N) for about $3.88 billion. Post’s shares were not trading.

Valeant (VRX.N) rose 3.7 percent to $25.83 after Mizuho raised the stock’s rating to “neutral” from “underperform”.

Sysco (SYY.N) was up 6.3 percent ahead of its results due at 8:00 a.m. ET (1200 GMT).

Source: Reuters

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