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Futures Higher As Economy Edges Up

The end-of-year stock rally was likely to continue Wednesday, with futures indicating a positive open amid a tech surge and a slow economic recovery.

Futures were aided by European markets that hit 14-month highs on a broader index, helped by energy and banking stocks.

Tuesday's gains were driven by economic numbers, most notably the existing home sales numbers, and there will be more numerical fodder for investors this morning.

The latest readings to show an economic recovery—albeit a slow one—came from the Commerce Department, which said consumer spending in November showed its second consecutive monthly gain while income rose the most in six months.

The market will have other economic news to digest later in the morning.

At 9:55 am, there's the latest University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey, with the monthly index forecast to come in at 73.5 for December. That would be virtually identical to the November reading.

And at 10 am, new home sales figures for November are out, with economists looking for a 1.2 percent drop.

Earlier in the morning, the Mortgage Bankers Association said home-loan applications fell to a two-month low as mortgage rates start to turn higher after reaching historical lows.

In stocks news, Ford Motor shares edged higher premarket after the US automaker said it is nearing a deal to sell Volvo Cars to China's Zhejiang Geely in the second quarter of 2010, in the latest in a string of deals between Asian and Western carmakers.

There was more good news for technology after the bell Tuesday, as Micron Technology reported that it had swung to a quarterly profit. Its shares gained 3.4 percent in premarket trading.

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

Research in Motion saw another Blackberry outage taking place overnight, though service has been largely restored.

Software maker Red Hatbeat Street estimates with its latest results, and is set for a higher move today.

Elsewhere in the news, it appears there were no fatalities when an American Airlines jet overshot the runway in Kingston, Jamaica, though more than 40 people were hospitalized with various injuries.

The Senate is set for another procedural vote today on the health care reform bill, which is now on track for passage tomorrow morning.