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Futures Higher After Italian Debt Auction

Futures pointed to a higher open Wednesday helped by two successful Italian bond auctions, an indication of increased investor appetite for the nation's debt.

European stocks roseafter Italy sold 9 billion euros ($11.8 billion) in 6-month T-bills, with a yield of 3.25 percent compared with November's euro era high of 6.5 percent. The euro also edged higher.

Stocks ended mostly flat in the previous sessionafter wavering in and out of positive territory as investors took a pause after last week's rally. Volume was at its thinnest level for a full day of trading this year.

The calendar is light on the economic and corporate news front. Volume is also expected to remain weak as investors remain on the sidelines ahead of the year-end.

In corporate news, Morgan Stanley announced plans to cut 580 jobs at four offices in New York City.

Meanwhile, the New York Times wants to sell 16 regional newspapers to Halifax Media for $143 million.

Sears Holdings dropped for a second day following the retail giant's announcement of weak holiday sales and store closings.

On the retail front, ComScore reported that holiday spending rose by 15 percent from the same period a year ago, to over $35 billion so far this year.

Cavium slumped after the semiconductor maker slashed its fourth-quarter sales outlook, citing weak demand from corporate clients.

—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: twitter.com/JeeYeonParkCNBC

On Tap This Week:

THURSDAY: Jobless claims, Chicago PMI, oil inventories, Fed balance sheet/money supply
FRIDAY: Farm prices

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