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Futures dip, with few trading incentives

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[June 03, 2014]  By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were a touch lower on Tuesday as traders found few reasons to buy with major indexes at record levels, though the market's recent upward momentum appeared intact.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at records on Monday; that was the benchmark S&P's third consecutive record. However, recent gains have come in light trading, indicating the rally has lacked conviction. About 60,000 S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 contracts changed hands in morning trading on Tuesday, suggesting another day of light action.

The CBOE Volatility Index .VIX has also been lower than average, hovering near levels not seen since March 2013. While the current levels of the VIX indicates a lack of fear in the market, some investors are concerned it also reflects a sense of complacency among investors.

Trading catalysts could come later in the session, with the release of data on durable goods and factory orders, both for April and scheduled for release at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). Factory orders are seen rising 0.5 percent in the month, a smaller advance than in March. The Institute for Supply Management's May read on New York economic activity is also on tap, due at 9:45 a.m.

S&P 500 futures SPc1 fell 3 points and were above 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 DJc1 slid 2 points and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 lost 6.5 points.

Pilgrim's Pride Corp PPC.O confirmed a revised proposal to buy Hillshire Brands HSH.N for $55 a share, an offer that values the company at $7.7 billion. Last week, Tyson Foods Inc TSN.N offered to buy Hillshire for $6.3 billion. Hillshire said it would conduct talks with both parties. Its stock rose 8.4 percent to $58.05 before the bell. (Full Story)

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Element Financial Corp EFN.TO late Monday agreed to buy PHH Corp's PHH.N auto fleet leasing business for about $1.4 billion in cash. (Full Story)

Gladstone Commercial Corp GOOD.O was one of the premarket session's most active Nasdaq names, falling 3 percent to $17 after the company announced a common stock offering of an undisclosed size. Spherix Inc SPEX.O rose 17 percent to $2.11 in heavy trading after the company announced $20 million in equity financing.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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