(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a sharply higher opening in the first trading session of 2013 on the Wall Street after lawmakers reached a last-minute agreement to avert the "fiscal cliff".
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures jumped 220 points to 13,247. The Nasdaq futures added 56.75 points to 2,712. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 26.90 points to 1,447.
The House of Representatives passed the so-called "fiscal cliff" bill that seeks to prevent tax increases and postponed spending cuts by two months.
On the economic front, the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing survey may show the index rose to 50.5 last month from 49.5 in November. A report from the Commerce Department is expected to show construction spending grew 0.6 percent in November versus 1.4 percent rise in October.
On Monday, U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on the last trading session of the year amid hopes that a deal will be reached to address the "fiscal cliff" of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AAPL, INTC, FB, X, ZIP, SGYP
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) jumped 3.21 percent in premarket.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) gained 2.86 percent in premarket. On Monday, BMO Capital Markets has resumed coverage on the stock with an "Outperform" rating, up from previous "Underperform" rating.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) added 1.99 percent in premarket.
United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) advanced 4.44 percent. Credit Suisse upgraded rating on the stock to "outperform" from "neutral".
Zipcar Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIP), a car sharing network, agreed to be acquired by Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR) for $12.25 per share in cash or a total of roughly $500 million. ZIP soared 47.33 percent in premarket.
Synergy Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SGYP) surged 14.07 percent after the company announced positive results from a late-stage study of its chronic constipation treatment.
European markets rallied, with Germany's DAX up 2.17 percent to trade at 7,776.90. France's CAC40 gained 2.26 percent to trade at 3,723.47. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 jumped 2.34 percent to trade at 6,035.81.
Among Asian markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 2.89 percent to end at 23,311.98. India's BSE Sensex ended at 19,714.24, up 0.68 percent. China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index and Japan's Nikkei 225 were shut for holidays.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures gained 1.72 percent to $93.40 per barrel. Gold futures added 0.87 percent to $1,690.90 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro rose 0.48 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3268, and the British pound added 0.38 percent to 1.6311. The dollar advanced 0.38 percent against the Japanese yen to 87.0300.