Tuesday starts with a positive outlook for stocks, helped by retreating fears over Dubai World's debt restructuring plans as well as new easing moves overnight by the Bank of Japan.
Stock markets in Europe enjoyed solid midday gains. U.S. stock index futures are currently pointing to a higher open on Wall Street as December starts. November saw the best monthly gains for the Dow and the S&P 500 since July.
A busy morning of economic numbers will give investors plenty to consider. At 10 am New York time, the Institute for Supply Management will be out with its monthly manufacturing index, with economists forecasting a reading of 54.7. That would be below last month's reading of 55.7, but still above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.
There will also be October pending home sales numbers from the National Association of Realtors, with consensus forecasts calling for a drop of 1 percent, compared with September's 6.1 percent increase. Construction spending for October is also out at 10 am, with a 0.4 percent drop seen as most likely, following September's increase of 0.8 percent.
Ford will kick off November sales reports at noon ET, followed by the other major automakers. Auto industry watchers are looking for November sales to come in at an annual rate of 10.4 million units, roughly in line with October's numbers.
The earnings calendar is extremely light once again this morning, but we will get quarterly numbers from office supplies retailer Staples before the opening bell.
In the news this morning, General Electric has agreed to pay Vivendi$5.8 billion for its 20 percent stake in CNBC parent NBC Universal, sources told CNBC. That would clear the way for a proposed deal to give Comcast a 51 percent stake in NBCU.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk