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Futures Edge Up as Investors Focus on Year-End

U.S. stock index futures indicated a flat to higher open Monday with investors wary of taking bets that could erode gains heading into year-end.

Volume may be lighter than usual, with London closed for the Boxing Day holiday. Stocks in Germany and France were modestly higher in morning trading.

The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq are all on pace to chalk up their biggest yearly percentage gains since 2003, and with a gain of about 1.5 percent this week, the S&P would have its best annual advance since 1998. The major averages have advanced, albeit modestly, for five consecutive sessions.

One factor in determining the stock market's mood will be the success of $118 billion in Treasury auctions this week. The Treasury will sell $44 billion in 2-Year Notes Monday, with the results available shortly after 1 pm New York time. Tuesday will see the same of $42 billion in 5-Year Notes, while $32 billion in 7-Year Notes will be sold on Thursday.

There are no major releases on the economic calendar, though the Dallas Fed will put out its monthly manufacturing survey at 10:30 am.

Some stocks to watch today include Whole Foods, with CEO John Mackey deciding to give up the chairman's role, and Apple, whose shares hit an all-time high on Thursday amid rumors that it will soon be out with a tablet computer, popularly referred to as the "iPad".

Thomas Weisel also was out Monday with postive comments on Apple. The firm raised its estimate for the company's fiscal first quarter to $3.55 a share from $3.36 a share, citing strong demand for iPhones and iMacs.

Airline stocks may also be worth watching today, amid stepped-up security procedures following last week's failed attempt by a Northwest Airlines passenger to ignite an explosive aboard a flight.

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

And investors will keep an eye on retail stocks, as MasterCard's SpendingPulse unit reports a 3.6 percent rise in holiday season sales (November 1-December 24) compared to the same period a year ago.

- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk