* US Oct factory activity expected to fall to 50
* Chipotle drops on fears of E.coli outbreak
* Dyax soars after Shire offers to buy company
* Valeant up ahead of new Citron report
* Futures up: Dow 10 pts, S&P 1.5 pts, Nasdaq 8.5 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Nov 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open marginally higher on Monday as investors digested reports on factory activity from China and Germany, ahead of U.S. manufacturing data and earnings reports.
China’s official factory data on Sunday showed activity unexpectedly shrank for a third straight month in October, though the contraction was modest.
A private survey showed on Monday that the pace of decline in China’s factory activity has slowed, while Germany reported better-than-expected manufacturing activity for October.
Data on U.S. manufacturing activity is expected to show U.S. factory activity fell in October. The Institute for Supply Management’s index is expected to have slipped to 50.0 from 50.2 in September. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).
“We don’t really see much of a clear direction this morning,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
At 8:37 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.07 percent, with 169,731 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8.5 points, or 0.18 percent, on volume of 26,855 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.06 percent, with 21,249 contracts changing hands.
“You have a lot of data coming down the pipe this week and you’re kind of in a no-man’s land, waiting for information,” Brown said.
As the U.S. earnings seasons begins to wind down, investors’ focus turns to economic data, including Friday’s crucial monthly jobs report, for a clearer picture of the state of the economy leading up to the Federal Reserve’s meeting in December.
The Fed, which kept rates unchanged at its October meeting, said that it could raise rates in December if the economy proves resilient enough to sustain higher rates.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday after a mixed bag of quarterly results, but ended October with their strongest monthly performance in four years.
Shares of Dyax soared 33.7 percent to $36.82 premarket after British drugmaker Shire said it would buy the company for about $5.9 billion. Baxalta, also a takeover target for Shire, fell 4.2 percent to $33.
Chipotle Mexican Grill dropped 4.4 percent to $612 after the restaurant chain operator said on Sunday it had closed all its restaurants in Seattle and Portland due to a reported outbreak of E.coli bacteria.
Visa was down about 2.4 percent at $75.71 after offering to buy Visa Europe for as much as $23.34 billion. Visa also reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit.
Valeant rose 4.1 percent to $97.58. Short seller Citron Research is due to release another report on Monday, but the firm’s head said investors should not “expect anything earth-shattering”, the Wall Street Journal said.
Fitbit and AIG are scheduled to report results after the close. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)