(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher opening on the Wall Street as an improved Chinese manufacturing data weighed on the sentiment.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 60 points to 13,068. The Nasdaq futures added 18.75 points to 2,694.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 7.10 points to 1,421.50.
China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 50.6 in November, a seven-month high, from 50.2 in October, surveys by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and the National Bureau of Statistics showed. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion.
On the U.S. economic front, investors await a report at 10 am ET that may show the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing PMI edged down to 51.3 in November from 51.7 in October. Another data may show construction spending rose 0.4 percent in October, versus a 0.6 percent increase in the prior month.
On Friday, U.S. stocks closed on a flat note amid uncertainty over whether lawmakers in Washington will be able to reach a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff". President Barack Obama has pushed for higher taxes on wealthy Americans to address the fiscal cliff of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that could hit economic growth. Obama argued that Republicans in Congress should extend existing middle-class tax cuts and allow tax increases on high earners.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: DELL, YHOO, CSC, EFX, DF, CONN
In corporate news, Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) jumped 5.50 percent in premarket. Goldman Sachs (GS) upgraded its rating on the stock to "buy" from "sell".
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) retreated 1.65 percent in premarket trading. The internet giant was ordered to pay $2.7 billion in a lawsuit related to a yellow pages listing service. The suit was brought by Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas.
Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC) rose 2.47 percent in premarket after the company agreed to sell its credit services business for $1 billion in cash to Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX). EFX shares added 1.78 percent.
Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) gained 3.85 percent in premarket after the food and beverage company agreed to sell its Morningstar Foods division to Canada's Saputo Inc. for $1.45 billion to "sharpen" its focus on the conventional dairy business.
CONN'S Inc. (NASDAQ: CONN) advanced 3.93 percent in premarket after the retailer of durable consumer products swung to a third-quarter profit and it lifted its full-year guidance.
European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX gaining 0.98 percent to trade at 7,478.23. France's CAC40 added 1.15 percent to trade at 3,598.28. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.37 percent to trade at 5,888.35.
Asian markets ended mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index down 1.03 percent to finish at 1,959.77. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.13 percent to finish at 9,458.18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index retreated 1.19 percent to end at 21,767.85. India's BSE Sensex ended at 19,305.32, down 0.18 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures rose 0.63 percent to $89.47 per barrel. Gold futures advanced 0.33 percent to $1,718.40 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.54 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3056, and the British pound rose 0.44 percent to 1.6083. The dollar dipped 0.29 percent against the Japanese yen to 82.2400.