U.S. Stocks To Tilt Higher At Opening; Mergers In View

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks are headed for a higher opening Tuesday, as investors return from a three-day weekend to find a market enlivened by merger developments, including a $95.5 billion offer for ABN Amro from a group led by Royal Bank of Scotland..

The futures contact for the Dow Jones Industrial Average last was up 25 points at 13,552.

The futures contract for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 last were 3 points higher at 1,520.30 and up 2.5 points at 1,895.5.

On Friday stocks closed higher ahead of the three-day Memorial Day weekend.

Merger news developments should set the stage for Monday's session. "We're mostly focusing on the many deals that have been announced," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co. "The world is awash with liquidity and that is what is driving us."

The Royal Bank of Scotland-led group officially launched an offer for ABN Amro in a deal valued at $95.5 billion. That offer is higher than a rival all-stock offer from Barclays . RBS said it had "amicable" talks with Bank of America about a settlement over its disputed purchase of LaSalle from ABN Amro.

Archstone-Smith is close to a $20 billion deal under which it would be acquired by Tishman Speyer and Lehman Brothers .

There also are reports that BMW is interested in buying Ford Motor Co's Volvo unit.

In Frankfurt trade shares of Avaya were higher, following news reports that some private equity firms would like to buy it.

In completed deals, URS Corp. agreed to buy engineering and design company Washington Group in a stock-and-cash deal worth $2.6 billion.

Norsk Hydro and Rio Tinto are considering making bids for Alcan Inc., according to reports. Alcan has turned down a hostile bid from fellow aluminum producer Alcoa .

The Federal Trade Commission has begun a preliminary antitrust prove into Google's planned $3 billion deal to buy online advertiser DoubleClick.

The main data event of the day will be the May consumer confidence report, which is due at 10 a.m. The MarketWatch forecast, based on a poll of economists is for a reading of 105.8, which would be an improvement over 104.0 in April

Other markets

Treasury prices were slightly lower, sending yields a bit higher, as the post-holiday trading session got off to a slow start. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note last was down 2/32 at 97-4/32 with a yield of 4.864%.

The dollar was under pressure against its major rivals in early trade. It last traded down 0.08% at 121.52 yen as the euro rose 0.4% to $1.3510.

Crude futures were trending lower, with the front-month contract down $1.30 at $64.97 a barrel, as the gold futures traded higher, rising $2.90 to $658.20. an ounce.

By Leslie Wines