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Strength Overseas May Lead To Upside On Wall Street

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Monday following the mixed performance last week. Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to strength in the overseas markets, which benefited from political news out of Europe.

Stocks turned in a mixed performance last Friday amid another round of downbeat economic data and news that online giant Amazon (AMZN) snapped up Whole Foods (WFM).

While the Nasdaq dipped 13.74 points or 0.2 percent to 6,151.76, the Dow edged up 24.38 points or 0.1 percent to 21,384.28 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.69 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,433.15.

The major averages also turned in a mixed performance for the week. Moving lower for the second straight week, the Nasdaq slid by 0.9 percent, but the Dow rose by 0.5 percent and the S&P 500 inched up by less than a tenth of a percent.

Traders were unfazed by the release of a government report showing a steep drop in housing starts for May. The Commerce Department said housing starts slumped by 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.092 million in May from the revised April estimate of 1.156 million.

The significant decline surprised economists, who had expected housing starts to climb to a rate of 1.215 million from the 1.172 million originally reported for the previous month.

There was also a decline in building permits, a measure of future building activity. That figure tumbled by 4.9 percent to a rate of 1.168 million in May from a revised 1.228 million in April.

Meanwhile, a second economic report indicated weak consumer attitudes, a bad sign for retail spending. The University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index for June fell to 94.5. The index was expected to be unchanged at 97.1. The figure was the weakest since last November.

Amazon said it has agreed to buy grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion, as the online retailing giant aims to dominate the supermarket industry as well. Amazon shares jumped 2.3 percent, while Whole Foods surged…

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