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Futures Rise After Spending, Inflation Data

Futures pointed to higher open the first day of October after news that consumer spending in the U.S. rose a little more than expected in August, but inflation remained modest.

Personal spending rose 0.4 percent in August, the same level as July, and more than the 0.3 percent rise forecast by economists surveyed by Reuters, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Meanwhile, the personal consumption expenditures price index — excluding food and energy—rose only 0.1 percent for a fourth month.

looked set to get off to a positive start Friday after China manufacturing data beat expectations and eased concerns that the economic growth engine may be seeing weakness.

Stocks closedlower in the previous session, but ended higher for the month. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 recorded their best September performance for 71 years.

European shares were higher across the board after the Chinese data helped to lift commodity-related stocks. China's purchasing managers' index rose to 53.8 in September from 51.7 in August. Asian stocks closed mostly higheron the news.

More economic news is due later today as September auto sales will be released throughout the day. The sales figures will give investors a read on the strength of the sector. General Motors will be first to issue results at 10:45 a.m.

The University of Michigan will release its monthly consumer sentiment index at 9:55 a.m. The index is expected to increase to 67.0 from last month's 66.6, Briefing.com said.

At 10 a.m. the Institute for Supply Management will release its monthly manufacturing index. Expectations are for a drop to 54.8 from the previous month's 56.3, according to Breifing.com. And the government's report on August construction spending is likely to show a drop of 0.5 percent following July's 1.0 percent decline.

Hewlett-Packard's are lower in pre-market trading after the tech giant named Leo Apotheker its new CEO. Apotheker was formerly SAP's chief executive.

Also in technology news, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer didn't get his full bonus for the fiscal year for apparent failures to keep up with competitors such as Apple .

Caterpillar is lower in pre-market trading after Bank of America downgraded the heavy equipment maker to "neutral" from "buy." The brokerage said it doesn't expect the shares to rise much more after it's strong recent performance. The stock rose more than 20 percent in September.

Gold remained near record highs and oil pushed above $80 a barrel as the dollar saw continued weakness against other major currencies .

Banks and other firms with stakes in futures operators may come under new regulation Friday. The U.S. futures regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is expected to propose new rules on the holdings later in the session.

Meanwhile, a council of U.S. regulators set up to find identifying risks to the financial system will meet for the first time later on Friday.

On Tap Friday:

FRIDAY: NY Fed Pres Dudley speaks; Consumer sentiment; ISM manufacturing index; Construction spending; Monthly auto sales; BP's Hayward steps down

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