* Equities have been strong lately, with the S&P
ending at records for the past four sessions, and rising in 11
of the past 13. While Wall Street's upward trend is still seen
as intact, it may be harder to continue notching solid gains in
the absence of big catalysts. There are no major economic
indicators on tap for Tuesday.
* Investors continue to watch the level of trading volume, which
has been below average of late, potentially making the market
more susceptible to big swings. The CBOE Volatility index, which
typically moves inversely to the S&P, rose 3.9 percent on Monday
despite the market's advance. The "fear index" recently fell to
its lowest since February 2007, and remains at levels that are
very low from a historical perspective.
* S&P 500 futures fell 3.2 points and were 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 fell 17 points and Nasdaq 100
futures lost 6.25 points. * The benchmark S&P 500 index has
advanced 5.6 percent this year, with the strongest group being
"low beta" names like utilities, which tend to move less
dramatically than the overall market.
* Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc surged 40 percent to $5.95 in
heavy premarket trading, building on a jump of almost 48 percent
on Monday. The company early Tuesday commented on an ongoing
Phase 1 clinical trial, and was upgraded to "market outperform"
from "market perform" by JMP Securities.
* Another volatile name of late, Spherix Inc, rose 13 percent to
$1.95 before the bell. Earlier, one of the company's wholly
owned subsidiaries said it had commenced patent litigation
against Huawei Device USA Inc.
* Microsoft Corp will work with Chinese Internet security
specialist Qihoo 360 Technology Co on mobile Internet and
artificial intelligence technology, Chinese state media reported
late Monday, as the U.S. software giant fights security concerns
in the country.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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