The upcoming week is loaded with a host of data, including numbers on manufacturing, inflation, housing and the nation’s GDP, not to mention Ben Bernanke’s swan song at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

The latter, it's widely expected, will be what investors will wait and watch for this week as the meeting’s outcome could include a timetable for the future of the Federal Reserve’s massive asset-purchase program, which has driven markets worldwide over the past few months. The FOMC meeting announcement is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. EST.

“It is a close call, but we think the renewed strength of employment growth in the past few months will be just enough to persuade the Fed to start scaling back its monthly asset purchases,” Capital Economics said in a note. 

The note added that the bipartisan budget deal, which is expected to clear the Senate this week, “will provide some much-needed stability to the fiscal outlook and removes some of the uncertainty that the Fed was worried about in September.”

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.25 percent and futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.39 percent while those on the Nasdaq 100 were up 0.44 percent. 

On Monday, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for December and data on nonfarm productivity for the third quarter are due at 8:30 a.m. EST. Markit’s flash Purchasing Managers’ Index for the manufacturing sector in December is due at 8:58 a.m. EST. Following right after, at 9:15 a.m. EST, is data on industrial production for November and a Wall Street Journal consensus calls for a month-on-month gain of 0.6 percent compared to a fall of 0.1 percent in the previous month.

In Europe, stocks were upbeat across the board with the Stoxx Europe 600 index trading up 0.64 percent while the FTSE 100 was up 0.44 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was up 1.17 percent while France's CAC-40 was up 0.75 percent.

In Asia, on the other hand, stocks were in the red with Japan’s Nikkei ending the day down 1.62 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.17 percent. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.6 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.57 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index was down 0.09 percent while India’s BSE Sensex fell 0.27 percent.