Stock Futures Jump as China Factory Growth Cools


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U.S. stock-index futures climbed sharply Monday as traders eyed a report on China's massive manufacturing sector, and geared up for what could be a busy week.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 92 points, or 0.59%, to 15793, S&P 500 futures gained 10.8 points, or 0.61%, to 1779 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 18 points, or 0.52%, to 3471.

The broad S&P 500 has fallen for two-straight weeks as worries about when the Federal Reserve will begin cutting down on its asset purchases have spooked Wall Street. This week, the Street will get its answer -- at least to some extent -- when the Federal Open Market Committee releases its decision on Wednesday.

Economists, broadly speaking, are still not expecting the central bank to begin tapering QE3 until next year -- but the chances have been ratcheted up by stronger-than-expected economic data.

A closely watched report from HSBC showed expansion in China's manufacturing sector cooling down slightly to a three-month low in December. HSBC's PMI gauge fell to 50.5 from 50.8 the month before.

"The data suggest the weakening of growth momentum which he expects to persist through the first half of 2014," economists at Nomura wrote to clients on the back of the report.

The New York Federal Reserve’s measure of manufacturing activity in the region grew to 0.98 in December from -2.21 the month prior, considerably less than the 4.75 growth expected. Readings above 0 point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction. Later this week, there are reports due out on the housing sector and inflation.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures climbed 75 cents, or 0.77%, to $97.34 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rallied 1.8% to $2.675 a gallon. Gold rose $1.60, or 0.13%, to $1,236 a troy ounce.

On the corporate front, American International Group (NYSE:AIG) said it is selling its plane leasing business, International Lease Finance, in a deal valued at about $5.4 billion.

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