Stock market news: US stock futures rise following wild week

Stock market news is improving since last Monday's plunge. A few companies announced acquisitions to start off this week's stock market news.

By , Associated Press

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    Attendees chat at the Google IO Developers Conference in San Francisco, in this May 11, 2011 file photo. In stock market news Monday, Google is buying cell phone maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, in what is by far the company's biggest acquisition to date.
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U.S. stock futures rose Monday, following Wall Street's wildest week since the 2008 financial crisis.

Companies announced a trio of acquisitions worth billions of dollars, Japan's economy shrank far less than economists expected last quarter and businesses continue to report stronger earnings.

Google Inc. said it will buy wireless phone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for $12.5 billion in cash. It is by far the technology company's biggest acquisition. That sent shares of Motorola up 60 percent in premarket trading, but Google fell nearly 3 percent.

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Time Warner Cable Inc. said it will pay $3 billion in cash for Insight Communications Co., which has more than 750,000 cable customers in the Midwest. In the energy industry, offshore driller Transocean Ltd. is buying Aker Drilling of Norway for $1.43 billion in cash.

Companies across the United States are sitting on a record amount of cash that they have built up since the recession ended. They have increased their cash reserves every quarter for more than two years, and businesses in the S&P 500 index were sitting on a total of $963.3 billion at the end of March, according to the most recent data from Standard & Poor's.

Investors have been waiting for them to use some of that cash on acquisitions, dividend increases and stock buybacks.

The growing cash hoard has been the result of stronger profits. Companies have kept costs low by being slow to hire. Revenue, meanwhile, is growing, particularly to overseas customers. For the 460 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported second-quarter results so far, total earnings are up 12 percent from a year ago.

Still, there are signs that companies continue to wrestle with a shaky economy.

Cosmetics company Estee Lauder Cos. said its net income rose 72 percent last quarter, but its shares tumbled 6 percent on a disappointing outlook.

Lowe's Cos., the second-largest U.S. home improvement retailer, said its net income was roughly flat last quarter on a 1 percent rise in revenue.

And investors are still concerned about the possibility of another recession. A report showed that conditions for manufacturers in New York worsened for the third straight month in August. Manufacturing has been one of the country's strongest industries since the recession ended in 2009, but growth began to slow in March. Manufacturing nationwide barely grew in July.

After the report was released, futures gave up some of their early gains.

An hour ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 48 points, or 0.4 percent, to 11,298. S&P 500 futures rose 4.3, or 0.4 percent, to 1,181.10. Nasdaq 100 futures rose 4.75, or 0.2 percent, to 2,182.25. Futures don't always accurately predict how markets will open.

Last week, the Dow rose or fell by at least 400 points for four days straight. It was the first time that had ever happened. The S&P 500 index also rose or fell by 4 percent for four straight days. It's the first time that happened since November 2008, at the depths of the financial crisis.

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