(By Balachander) U.S stock-index futures pointed to higher open on the Wall Street ahead of a key report on factory activity.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 64 points to 13,419. The Nasdaq futures added 15 points to 2,807. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 5.80 points to 1,440.
On the U.S. economic front, at 10 am ET, the Institute for Supply Management's September manufacturing index may show a reading of 49.7, compared with 49.6 in August. A level above 50.0 indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction. Also on tap is the Commerce Department's construction spending report.
Likely to be in focus in the coming week are indicators of labor market, including ADP's private sector employment report, the weekly jobless claims data and Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data.
On Friday, U.S. stocks ended the third quarter in red amid uncertainty over Spain on considering request for a bailout package. A set of soft domestic economic data also dented sentiment. Stocks cut their losses after results of an independent audit showed that Spanish banks face a shortfall of 59.3 billion euros ($76.2 billion), less than prior estimates of around 60 billion euros. Spain commissioned the stress tests as part of a pre-condition for a potential 100 billion euro bailout package for its banking system.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: CRDN, JAKK, NBL, DLTR
In corporate news, Ceradyne Inc. (NASDAQ:CRDN) surged 43.02 percent in premarket after the maker of ceramic products agreed to be bought for $35.00 per share, or roughly $860 million by 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) at a premium of 43 percent.
JAKKS Pacific Inc. (NASDAQ:JAKK) slashed its outlook for 2012, blaming disappointing domestic product sales, a slowdown in product orders and higher expenses.
Dollar Tree Inc. (NADSAQ:DLTR) may be in focus after the operator of discount variety stores disclosed it sold its ownership interest in Ollie's Holdings, a discount retailer. In a regulatory filing, DLTR said the sale will add to its third-quarter earnings per share by 16 cents to 17 cents.
Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE:NBL) said it expects quarterly volumes to be at the low end of its forecast due to the impact of Hurricane Isaac.
AutoZone Inc. (NYSE:AZO) said its board has authorized the repurchase of an additional $750 million of its common stock.
TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE:TRW), which supplies automotive systems, said it has authorized a $1 billion share buyback plan.
CNO Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:CNO) said it has entered into a new senior secured credit agreement consisting of a $250 million four-year term loan facility and a $425 million six-year term loan facility. CNO said it has also obtained a $50 million three-year, unfunded revolving credit facility.
European markets advanced, with Germany's DAX up 0.95 percent to trade at 7,284.88. France's CAC40 gained 1.21 percent to trade at 3,395.47. U.K.'s FTSE 100 jumped 1.06 percent to trade at 5,803.01.
Among Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.83 percent to end at 8,796.51. India's BSE Sensex closed at 18,823.91, up 0.33 percent. China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index were closed for public holidays.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures dropped 0.42 percent to $91.80 per barrel. Gold futures shed 0.20 percent to $1,770.3 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro inched up 0.19 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2884. The British pound declined 0.20 percent against the greenback to 1.6135, while the dollar added 0.08 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.0000.