Futures advance as Apple deal boosts Nasdaq

Futures advance as Apple deal boosts Nasdaq

UNITED STATES - US stock index futures rose on Monday, indicating that last week's rally would continue, with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) surging on a distribution deal with China Mobile.

Activity is expected to be thin this week, with many market participants out for the Christmas holiday. Equity markets will close early on Tuesday and will be closed all of Wednesday. The light volume could amplify market volatility.

Tech titan Apple said Sunday it had signed a long-awaited agreement with China Mobile Ltd (0941.HK) (CHL.N) to sell iPhones through the world's biggest network of mobile phone users, a deal that could add billions of dollars to its revenue.

"This is just good news, and a much bigger strategic deal than had been forecast," said Oliver Pursche, president of the Suffern, New York-based Gary Goldberg Financial Services, which owns the stock.

"Apple is incredibly undervalued at this stage, and this deal can help it trade well beyond $600 early in 2014."

Shares of Apple jumped 3.7 per cent to $569.12 in premarket trading, and the stock's massive market capitalisation helped lift Nasdaq futures. US-listed shares of China Mobile rose 1.5 per cent to $52.38.

S&P 500 futures rose 6.6 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 added 44 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 20.75 points.

Last week, equities gained their most in months, and both the Dow and S&P 500 ended Friday at all-time closing highs. The week's rally was fueled by strong economic data and a US Federal Reserve decision to begin trimming its stimulus programme, which removed a major source of uncertainty for the market. The Fed also said its key interest rate would stay at rock-bottom longer than previously promised.

The S&P has soared more than 27 per cent this year, thanks largely to the Fed's stimulus, and is on track for its best year since 1997.

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