US markets to open higher into record territory with Valeant-Allergan in focus

Following two days of record closes for the S&P 500, US markets look set to again open higher. With a light day for economic data, traders will be positioning themselves ahead of the preliminary US GDP release tomorrow expected to show a drop in growth -0.6%. The bar has been set pretty low for Q1 growth so barring any disaster the markets are likely to brush it off as weather-related. Futures suggest the S&P500 will open 2 points higher at 1,913 with the Dow Jones expected to open 18 points higher at 16,693. After figures showed an improving housing market, the financial sector led the S&P 500 higher with a jump in real estate management stocks. The financial sector has been one of the most beaten up over the last few months especially after poor earnings from some of the largest banks. But with the markets making record highs, traders are looking for financials to play catch-up to with recently outperforming sectors like energy which was one of the worst performers yesterday. Valeant Pharmaceuticals are of double interest today; they have sold off part of their skincare range of products to Nestle and are holding a widely anticipated webcast concerning their takeover bid for Allergan. The webcast is expected to include the details of an improved offer for the Botox-maker as well as rebuff recent statements made in slides posted to Allergan’s website . Allergan have raised questions across several areas Valeant’s bid and business model. The business model of Valeant is important to Allergan stakeholders as any offer would likely be part cash, part Valeant stock. Allergan shareholders will be tempted by the quick buck to be pocketed by selling out after the deal is completed but those looking for larger returns over the longer term should be concerned over Valeant’s aggressive tax structure and high debt levels.