NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for a lower open on Monday, putting the S&P 500 on track to pull back from its latest record high, as soft data in China and Japan kindled global growth concerns.
Economic data showed China’s exports rose at a slower than expected pace and imports dropped 6.7 percent in November, while Japan’s economy shrank more than expected in the third quarter.
The data put a damper on recent enthusiasm over the U.S. economy, after a strong payrolls report on Friday sent the S&P 500 to its 49th record close of the year. The benchmark S&P index has risen for seven weeks, its longest stretch in nearly a year, and is up more than 11 percent from an October low.
“Considering the economic news that came from abroad the markets are really not under severe pressure,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
“While the weakness in the global economy is quite noticeable, in general what we are seeing here is a slower pace of increments as we close out the year. Investors are taking a slightly less aggressive attitude as we approach year-end.”
S&P 500 e-mini futures ESc1 down 7 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures 1YMc1 fell 58 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures NQc1 lost 15.25 points.
Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) said it would buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc CBST.O for $8.4 billion plus the assumption of debt. Merck shares were flat at $61.49 in premarket trading while Cubist shares surged 35.9 percent to $101.07.
McDonald’s (MCD.N) shares lost 3 percent to $93.39 before the opening bell after the fast-food restaurant chain reported a steeper-than-expected fall in global same-restaurant sales in November and said fourth quarter results would be hurt by a supplier scandal in China and a stronger dollar.
Energy shares may come under pressure on Monday as Brent crude LCOc1 fell to a five-year low on predictions oversupply would keep building until next year. The S&P energy index .SPNY is down 9 percent this year, making it the only one of the 10 major S&P sectors in negative territory for the year. The Select Sector SPDR Energy ETF (XLE.P) was off 1.3 percent in premarket trading. [O/R]
Editing by Bernadette Baum