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Trader Peter Costa, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. (Richard Drew/AP)
Trader Peter Costa, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. (Richard Drew/AP)

Premarket: Futures tick higher, Google dips Add to ...

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday, suggesting equities will extend their multi-year closing highs from Friday, but low volume and the absence of economic indicators on tap could make trading volatile.

Upbeat U.S. and Chinese data last week helped extend the weekly winning streak of the S&P 500 to six weeks. The benchmark is up 6.4 per cent so far this year after a steep rally in January that has dwindled as earnings season winds down.

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S&P 500 futures rose 3.4 points but were slightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 37 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.5 points.

Google shares dipped 0.8 per cent in premarket trading after news executive chairman Eric Schmidt is selling roughly 42 per cent of his stake in the company, a move that could potentially net the former chief executive $2.51-billion (U.S.).

Celgene Corp. shares rose 1.5 per cent premarket to $101.60 after U.S. regulators approved its new drug for patients with multiple myeloma whose disease has worsened after being treated with other cancer drugs.

US Airways shares gained 2.9 per cent to $15.18 as the company nears an $11-billion merger with AMR Corp. that would create the world’s largest airline.

European shares dipped as sharp falls in pharma group Novo Nordisk outweighed rallies in rival Sanofi and Dutch retailer Ahold.

Shares in Novo Nordisk fell 12 per cent in volume nearly 5 times their average for the past 90 days as U.S. regulators requested additional tests on the firm’s new insulin drugs, in a move that could delay approval by some years..

The stock knocked 1.7 points off the FTSEurofirst 300, which was down 3.9 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 1,158.93 points.

Rival Sanofi rallied 4.3 per cent as its own insulin drugs would not face competition from Novo Nordisk’s products.

Ahold was also up 4.3 per cent to 11.1 euros, after the retailer sold its 60 per cent stake in Swedish supermarket chain ICA for about $1.3-billion, close to the high end of analysts’ price range.

The Euro STOXX 50 has come under pressure in the past two weeks as a corruption scandal stirred fears of political instability in Spain and the Italian election race became tighter, fuelling some profit-taking after a 37 per cent rally since June.

Europe equity funds recorded modest outflows in the week ending Feb. 6, EPFR Global data showed, and net inflows into U.S. funds invested in European equities slowed markedly.

Stock markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and Seoul were among those closed Monday for the Lunar New Year holiday. Japanese markets were also shut for a public holiday.

Inside the Market editor Darcy Keith is away and will return next week.

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