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Merger Monday

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Futures are higher Monday morning ahead of the open. The big news is the proposed merger in the energy sector. Phillips (NYSE:P) and Conoco (NYSE:COC) announced a merger over the weekend. The two announced Sunday that they would merge to create the largest refiner in the country. The energy sector has been under the pressure of falling oil prices recently, and a big merger within the group could be the catalyst to stabilize the sector. However, the price of crude sold off in trading in London Monday morning.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced that it will cut 6,500 jobs and take a charge in the fourth-quarter. The company is aiming to cut costs and "emerge stronger" from the slowdown.

The Afghanistan-related news over the weekend should be favorable for the market early this week. Continue progress by the United States should continue to give confidence to the market.

Historically, this is a bullish week for stocks. A lot of market participants take the week off, which makes for lighter trading and generally a positive bias. We'll see if this week fits the historical pattern.

Eric Utley
Option Investor

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