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US stock futures pick up some steam on upbeat durable-goods report

U.S. stock-index futures tilted higher on Tuesday after orders for U.S. durable goods rose 3.5 percent in November, better than expected, as investors geared up for a shortened trading session ahead of Wednesday's holiday.

Tesla Motors rose in early New York trading after the electric-car company said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had reaffirmed the safety rating for its Model S sedan.

Wall Street shares climbed on Monday after positive data on consumer spending and sentiment, with Apple and Facebook lifting the Nasdaq to a 13-year high. European and Asian equities traded higher on Tuesday, also buoyed by the U.S. data.

In a further clue that holiday shopping figures could be disappointing, retail sales at stores, excluding e-commerce, fell 3.1 percent between Dec. 16 and Dec. 22, the busiest shopping time of the season, according to data-firm ShopperTrak. That came three weeks after a poor showing on Thanksgiving weekend.

U.S. markets close at 1 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday's Christmas holiday. Other data releases on Tuesday include Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) home prices for October and new home sales for November.

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