Stock futures gain on optimism over budget talk
By Angela Moon | November 20, 2012 12:00 AM EST
Stock index futures started off a holiday-shortened trading week in an upbeat mood on Monday, with investors encouraged by signs of progress in talks to resolve the fiscal crunch in the United States.
Leading U.S. lawmakers expressed confidence on Sunday that they could reach a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" even as they laid down markers on taxes and spending that may make any agreement more difficult. In response, European stocks also rose from a 3 1/2-month low.
S&P 500 futures rose 7.4 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 added 61 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 16 points.
On the macro-economic front, investors awaited data on U.S. existing home sales for October, due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast an annualized 4.75 million units, a repeat of the September total. Investors also eyed the November NAHB housing market index, also due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).
Networking equipment company Cisco Systems Inc
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp
Online financial services company ETrade Financial Corp
Hope that U.S. politicians would find common ground to steer clear of the "fiscal cliff" boosted stocks on Friday, though the gains were not enough to offset the week's losses.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)