The U.S. stock index futures point to a slightly higher open Monday ahead of the Census Bureau's durable goods orders data.
The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.04 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.09 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.12 percent.
Investors are expected to focus on the durable goods orders data to be reported Monday. Durable goods orders, which measure the change in the total value of new orders for the long-lasting manufactured goods, are expected to increase 1.8 percent in December, up from 0.8 percent rise in November. The core durable goods orders for December, which will exclude the transportation items, are expected to increase 0.7 percent, down from 1.6 percent increase in November.
Also, investors will continue to focus on earnings reports with Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), Seagate Technology PLC (Nasdaq: STX), Steel Dynamics Inc. (Nasdaq: STLD), VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Zions Bancorporation (Nasdaq: ZION) expected to announce their quarterly results Monday.
On Friday, the U.S. stocks gained as investor confidence was lifted amid encouraging earnings reports from corporates. Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG) reported that the company’s net earnings rose to $4.06 billion or $1.39 per share in the second quarter, up from $1.69 billion or $0.57 per share in the same period the earlier year. The consumer goods giant also raised its outlook for revenue growth for the fiscal year 2013.
Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) reported that the company’s net income rose to $251 million or $0.32 per share in the fourth quarter, up from a net loss of $310 million or $0.40 per share in the same period the earlier year.
Meanwhile, according to data released Friday by the Census Bureau, a new home sales report, which measures the annualized number of new single-family homes that were sold during the previous month, dropped to 369,000 in December, from 398,000 in November.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.51 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.54 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.62 percent.
Most of the European markets fell Monday as investor sentiment remained negative with persisting concerns over debt burden affecting the euro zone. London's FTSE 100 was marginally up 0.28 points, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 3.89 points and France's CAC 40 declined 2.78 points.
Asian stocks were mixed Monday as investor confidence remained muted even after it was reported that the net income earned by China's industrial companies surged in December. According to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, Monday, profits of industrial companies in the country rose 17.3 percent in December in comparison to the same period the previous year, following an increase of 22.8 percent in November.
China’s Shanghai Composite gained 55.20 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 77.68 points, Japan’s Nikkei was down 102.34 points and South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index declined 6.98 points.