After edging slightly lower on Wednesday morning, U.S. futures made up a little territory ahead of the bell on Thursday, as investors digested a recent economic report and several updates from around the world. The MNI Chicago Report business barometer, which showed that business activity in the U.S. expanded at a slower pace in March, dropped to 56.5 from a 56.8 reading in February. Any reading greater than 50 signals expansion.
Also, in Italy, center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani will inform president Giorgio Napolitano whether he has been able to form a broad coalition that will be able to survive a confidence vote in the Parliament’s upper house. In Cyprus, banks will open for the first time in nearly two weeks, with new rules in place curbing customers’ access to funds so that an initial panic to withdraw funds will not cause a run on banks.
Futures at 8:55 a.m.: DJIA: +22.0%, S&P 500: +0.90%, NASDAQ: +6.50%.
Here’s what’s buzzing on Monday Morning:
Analysts have held little confidence that BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) will be able to inspire widespread interest in its newly revamped operating system and new lineup of smartphones necessary to launch a turnaround. But the smartphone maker reported a surprise profit in the fourth quarter — showing the benefits of a cost-cutting program even though sales did miss expectations. Shares were trading down 2.04 percent at $14.15 pre-market.
The merger between MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) and Deutsche Telekom’s (DTEGY.PK) T-Mobile seems increasingly unlikely as Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., an investor-advisory firm, recommended against the deal Thursday morning. The firm joined Metro’s biggest shareholder, Paulson & Co, which has argued that the merger will saddle the company with too much debt.
Shares of U.S. Airways (NYSE:LCC) jumped up 2.5 percent in premarket trading after a bankruptcy judge approved the carrier’s merger with AMR’s (AAMRQ.PK) American Airlines. The combined carrier will be the largest in the United States, as revenue is expected to come close to $40 billion when the deal is completed in the third quarter.
Despite beating earnings estimates, GameStop (NYSE:GME) did not have much good news to report. The first half of 2013 is expected to be “challenging” as the company prepares for the release of Grand Theft Auto V. Same-store sales dropped 4.6 percent during the fourth quarter and the retailer expects comparable sales of between minus 6 percent and plus 1.5 percent for the new fiscal year. Shares were trading down by as much as 5.7 percent before the markets opened.
Don’t Miss: AA and US Airways Get the Go-Ahead for Merger.