(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher open on the Wall Street as investors await talks in Washington over the looming "fiscal cliff".
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 20 points to 13,085. The Nasdaq futures inched up 5.50 points to 2,654.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures added 2.20 points to 1,422.
On Monday, U.S. stocks closed in red on a holiday-shortened trading day for Wall Street amid continued uncertainty whether an agreement will be reached in Washington to address the so-called "fiscal cliff". President Barack Obama and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner are negotiating to address the so-called "fiscal cliff" of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases set to begin in January.
On the data front, the S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index - which measures the change in the selling price of single-family homes in 20 metropolitan areas - rose 4.3 percent for the 12 months ended October, after a 3 percent increase till September.
U.S. holiday sales grew just 0.7 percent from the same period last year at the slowest pace since 2008, a report by MasterCard SpendingPulse showed. Analysts' expected sales gains between 3 percent and 4 percent.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: NFLX, FB, AMZN, HLF
In corporate news, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) edged lower in premarket. An outage at one of Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) web service centers reportedly impacted subscribers of the video-streaming company on Dec. 24.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) gained 1.19 percent in premarket. Needham raised price target on the stock to $33 from $25 on Monday.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) rose 2.65 percent in premarket. On Monday, the nutrition company said it has retained Moelis & Company as its strategic advisor and it expects to exceed its quarterly guidance of $50 million of the repurchase authorization in upcoming quarters
European markets remained shut for public holidays.
Asian markets ended higher, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index up 0.25 percent to finish at 2,219.13. Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.49 percent to close at 10,230.36. India's BSE Sensex ended at 19,417.46, up 0.84 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index is closed for a holiday.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures advanced 0.84 percent to $89.35 per barrel. Gold futures inched up 0.17 percent to $1,662.30 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.11 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3198, and the British pound rose 0.07 percent to 1.6138. The dollar gained 0.68 percent against the Japanese yen to 85.3500.