June 3, 2014 / 11:14 AM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures dip, with few trading incentives

* Light VIX and volume raises some concerns

* Pilgrim’s raises buyout offer for Hillshire

* Futures down: Dow 2 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 6.5 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, June 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were a touch lower on Tuesday as traders found few reasons to buy with major indexes at record levels, though the market’s recent upward momentum appeared intact.

* Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at records on Monday; that was the benchmark S&P’s third consecutive record. However, recent gains have come in light trading, indicating the rally has lacked conviction. About 60,000 S&P 500 e-minis contracts changed hands in morning trading on Tuesday, suggesting another day of light action.

* The CBOE Volatility Index has also been lower than average, hovering near levels not seen since March 2013. While the current levels of the VIX indicates a lack of fear in the market, some investors are concerned it also reflects a sense of complacency among investors.

* Trading catalysts could come later in the session, with the release of data on durable goods and factory orders, both for April and scheduled for release at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). Factory orders are seen rising 0.5 percent in the month, a smaller advance than in March. The Institute for Supply Management’s May read on New York economic activity is also on tap, due at 9:45 a.m.

* S&P 500 futures fell 3 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 slid 2 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 6.5 points.

* Pilgrim’s Pride Corp confirmed a revised proposal to buy Hillshire Brands for $55 a share, an offer that values the company at $7.7 billion. Last week, Tyson Foods Inc offered to buy Hillshire for $6.3 billion. Hillshire said it would conduct talks with both parties. Its stock rose 8.4 percent to $58.05 before the bell.

* Element Financial Corp late Monday agreed to buy PHH Corp’s auto fleet leasing business for about $1.4 billion in cash.

* Gladstone Commercial Corp was one of the premarket session’s most active Nasdaq names, falling 3 percent to $17 after the company announced a common stock offering of an undisclosed size. Spherix Inc rose 17 percent to $2.11 in heavy trading after the company announced $20 million in equity financing.

Editing by Bernadette Baum

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