(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher opening on the Wall Street amid corporate earnings reports and a better-than-expected data of orders for durable goods.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 20 points to 13,832. The Nasdaq futures gained 2.00 points to 2,730. Standard and Poor's 500 futures added 0.60 points to 1,496.30.
On the domestic data front, durable-goods orders for December jumped 4.6 percent, topping economists expectations of an increase of 1.8 percent. New orders - excluding transportation - also gained 1.3 percent, while expectations were for a 0.7 percent rise. Durable-goods orders measures the change in the total value of new orders for long lasting manufactured goods.
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Another report may show pending home sales rose 0.3 percent last month after a 1.7 percent increase in November.
Other economic reports of interest due to be released over the week include: ADP's jobs report, the FOMC's minutes, nonfarm payrolls, jobless claims and personal spending.
On Friday, U.S. stocks closed higher on strong U.S. earnings reports from Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and Honeywell International (NYSE: HON).
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Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) posted a 55 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit hit by a goodwill impairment charge of $580 million. Sales and revenue fell 7 percent. The maker of construction and mining equipment also guided 2013 slightly below consensus. Shares rose 2.23 percent in premarket.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) is due to post its quarterly results after the market closes. The Internet giant is expected to earn 28 cents a share on revenue of $1.21 billion for the fourth quarter. Shares inched higher in premarket.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) gained 1.20 percent in premarket. Raymond James upgraded rating on shares of the social-networking giant to "outperform" from "market perform".
Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) posted a fall in quarterly earnings as higher cost and expenses offset revenue growth and the biotechnology company issued its forecast for 2013. Shares gained 1.16 percent in premarket.
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB) tumbled 13.98 percent in premarket after the casual clothing company forecast a 20 percent drop in earnings for 2012, citing higher marketing expenses and lower gross margin.
Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: FURX) may be in focus after the company confirmed that its partner Takeda Pharmaceutical has received approval from the U.S. health regulators for a new treatment.
European markets traded mixed, with Germany's DAX down 0.08 percent to trade at 7,851.39. France's CAC40 inched up 0.10 percent to trade at 3,782.10. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.02 percent to trade at 6,285.44.
Asian markets closed mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index up 2.41 percent to close at 2,346.51. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.94 percent to finish at 10,824.31. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.39 percent to end at 23,671.88. India's BSE Sensex ended nearly flat at 20,103.35.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures traded flat at $95.84 per barrel. Gold futures dropped 0.09 percent to $1,657.70 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.19 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3439, and the British pound fell 0.47 percent to 1.5724. The dollar slid 0.06 percent against the Japanese yen to 90.8600.