Market overview: US markets to extend record highs

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LONDON (ShareCast) - 1259: US stock futures are pointing to a firmer start on Wall Street when the opening bell rings at 14:30 London time, with AT&T (NYSE: T - news) in focus on reports that it could pay up to 50bn dollars to take over DirecTV (Frankfurt: DIG1.F - news) . The Dow and S&P 500 both closed at all-time highs on Monday evening. 'All of the M&A chatter in the market is really helping to lift sentiment right now and provide a welcome distraction from all of the negativity that weighed on markets earlier this year,' said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.

1152: Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW.L - news) is leading gains on the FTSE 250 still after also confirming that it will return at least 200m pounds of cash per year from 2016 on top of the 50m pound special dividend expected in July 2014 and 200m in July 2015.

1121: Bundesbank willing to back an array of stimulus measures next month from ECB, according to The Wall Street Journal, who cites a person familiar with the matter.

1038: Housebuilders' shares are rising after Taylor Wimpey said at its Analyst and Investors day that sales rates are at the upper end of its expectations.

1027: Speaking on Bloomberg TV Thomas Cook's CEO said they have been seeing less Chinese travellers to Russia and fewer travellers from that country as a result of the current crisis in Ukraine.

0948: easyJet's share price is down 4.6 per cent after the company underwhelmed with its first-half report. Analysts at Panmure Gordon said that the results were in line with expectations and its full-year forecasts remain unchanged. However, it kept a 'hold' rating, saying: 'Whilst we remain hugely optimistic about the long-term prospects of this business, in the near term we expect the shares to pause for breath.'

0830: The Footsie has begun the day with a small gain following fresh record closes overnight on the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials but slightly worse than forecast macroeconomic data out of China. The top flight index is now trading just shy of the intra-day highs of 6,875, reached on May 22nd 2013. Melrose is one of the best performers early on despite caution in its outlook. Nonetheless, broker Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) is highlighting the encouraging signs in current trading and forward orders at the company. easyJet is the worst performer after its latest half-year figures. LSE is also losing ground after announcing that it is in talks regarding the possible acquisition of Russell Investments. FTSE 100 up 22 to 6,873.

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