U.S. stock index futures climbed on Tuesday ahead of an expected higher reading on U.S. consumer confidence, as Japanese production rose, indicating the global economic recovery was on track and adding fuel to a year-end rally.

Japanese factory output rose for the first time in six months in November, and manufacturers expect to boost production in coming months, suggesting that firm demand in Asia will help the economy resume a recovery early next year.

General Motors Co gained 2 percent to $35.30 in premarket trade after several analysts initiated coverage of the automaker's shares, including overweight ratings at Barclays Capital and Morgan Stanley.

Trading volumes, already light for the holiday season, were expected to remain thin as the northeastern United States digs itself out from a blizzard that disrupted air and rail travel at the end of the busy Christmas weekend.

The blizzard pushed oil prices up to just below a more than two-year high struck the previous session with U.S. crude for February up 25 cents at $91.25 a barrel.

We have some economic data today in which we should see a new burst of consumer enthusiasm as consumer confidence jumps up, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.

Japan production rose, another good sign for the global economy. So the rally should continue right up until the new year and into the new year based on stronger economic growth both domestically and globally in 2011.

Economic data expected for Tuesday include the S&P/Case Shiller home prices indexes for October at 9 a.m. <1400 GMT>, forecast to show a month-over-month decline of 0.6 percent in a 20-city house price index, and consumer confidence for December at 10 a.m. <1500 GMT>, which is expected to rise to 56.0 from November.

S&P 500 futures rose 1.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 13 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 2.5 points.

MannKind Corp jumped 5.7 percent to $8.42 in premarket trade after the inhaled-insulin developer said the U.S. health regulator would not be able to complete the review of Afrezza by December 29 and would require about four more weeks.

Nasdaq OMX Group is considering a second stab at setting up a market in Japan with the Osaka Securities Exchange <8697.OS>, hoping to attract investors from emerging Asian economies, domestic media reported.

Shares in Japan and China eased on Tuesday as concerns that further Chinese monetary policy tightening will cool the engine of world economic growth.

European shares rose on Tuesday, with Alcatel-Lucent leading gains in the technology sector after it agreed to settle a bribery case, though volumes were low as the London equity market remained closed. <.EU>

Wall Street erased losses and ended little changed on Monday as investors shrugged off the surprise weekend interest rate hike from China's central bank.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)