Stocks set for sluggish start as oil price wilts

The big news, albeit not unexpected, is Bayer AG's monster bid for Monsanto

Seed. Bayer's bid for Monsanto is comfortably the biggest ever foreign bid launched by a German company
Seeds of value destruction? Mega-bids rarely work out well.

Stocks are set to give back some of Friday's gains, as the price of oil drifts back, seemingly daunted by the $50 a barrel barrier.

A disappointing meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) countries, which concluded without agreement on a universal panacea for the global economy's growth problems, is also likely to weigh on sentiment.

“It seems global stocks have been left depressed during trading this month and could continue to follow this fashion as a chaotic mixture of Brexit woes, global instabilities, central bank caution and erratic movements in oil prices leave investors on edge,” suggested Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.

Spread betting quotes point to the Dow Jones average kicking off at around 17,490, 10 points or so down from Friday's close.

The broader-based S&P 500 is seen opening eight-tenths of a point lower at around 2,051.5.

The price of West Texas light, sweet crude for July delivery was off 1.26%, or 61 cents, at $47.80 a barrel, as reports indicate Iran remains committed to cranking up output to 2.2mln barrels of oil per day as quickly as possible.

Oil industry analyst Malcolm Graham-Wood reckons the oil price may have reached a state of equilibrium in the high forties.

“I get the impression that at the moment, without any external momentum there is enough oil on the market to see us through well into the second half of the year, outages state of play and product demand will likely define price movements in the short term,” he said.

Mergers & acquisitions news is set to provide some early excitement at both ends of the corporate scale.

German behemoth Bayer AG has officially launched a $62bn bid for genetically modified foods and seeds specialist Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), sending the shares of the latter up 7.9% to $109.50 in pre-market trading.

The German drugs giant is offering $122 a share.

At the other end of the scale, shares in asset management company Resource America Inc (NASDAQ:REXI) were suspended, as the company agreed to be acquired by privately-owned C-III Capital Partners, a property services company for $9.78 cash per share. The terms vale Resource America at around $207mln.

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