Dow May Rise on China Growth

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST suggest that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) may open up by 0.3% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is expected to make a four-point gain when trading starts.

The fiscal cliff is likely to dominate the agenda once more today, but investors may be cheered slightly by good news from China, where the HSBC China flash purchasing managers' index for December rose to 50.9, marking the fifth consecutive increase and a 14-month high. Readings of more than 50 indicate expansion.

At home, November's consumer price index is due before the opening bell, at 8:30 a.m. EST, and is expected to show that prices fell by 0.2% in November after rising by 0.1% during the previous month. Industrial production figures for November are due at 9:15 a.m. EST and are expected to show a 0.2% increase, improving on the 0.4% fall seen in October. Capacity utilization is expected to be virtually unchanged at 77.9%.

In corporate news, Adobe Systems could see active trading after it announced strong quarterly earnings after the close last night. Adobe shares were up 5% in German trading this morning. Other companies whose stock could see movement include Facebook, as a lockup period on 156 million of the social-media giant's shares expires today. Shares in Quiksilver may also fall after the clothing manufacturer reported results below expectations last night.

European markets
In Europe this morning, markets reacted cautiously to the good news from China and the lack of news from Brussels, where the latest EU leaders' summit has just ended with an agreement to defer further discussions about closer European integration until June 2013.

As of 7:30 a.m. EST, the DAX is up 0.29%, the CAC 40 is down 0.14%, the FTSE MIB is up 0.21%, and the IBEX 35 is flat. In London, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) sits near breakeven, down just 0.06%. The biggest FTSE 100 movers were still within 2% of their opening prices at the end of the morning session, with chemicals group Croda International topping the leaderboard and miner Anglo American occupying the bottom slot, down 2% after UBS cut its recommendation for the stock to "neutral."

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