US stocks advanced in early trade on Tuesday with the S&P 500 Index advancing 1.33 points, or 0.10 percent, to trade at 1,273.16 at 9:40 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 15.44 points, or 0.13 percent, to trade at 11,686.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.33 percent.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department is due to report November factory orders at 10:00 am EDT which is expected to show a 0.4 percent decline in November compared to 0.9 percent decline in the previous month. Major auto companies are due to report sales figures for December.

The Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes of its last meeting at 2:00 pm EST which is highly anticipated as to confirm the heading of the U.S economy during 2011.

Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), which is due to report its quarterly earnings next week, advanced 3.99 percent .Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold” and raised price target to $22 from $14 on Monday.

Shares of Borders group (NYSE:BGP) plunged 8.85 percent as the company revealed the resignation of two top executives general counsel Thomas Carney and Chief Information Officer D. Scott Laverty on late Monday.

On Monday, US stocks began 2011 with a bang – equities leaped, powered by some strong manufacturing data in the U.S. and Europe and by a generally bullish outlook for the New Year.

The euro advanced 0.34 percent to 1.3406 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.44 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures declined 0.39 percent to $91.19/barrel and gold futures fell 1.89 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 147 points, DAX30 up by 26.45 points and CAC 40 up by 41.40 points.