Stock Futures Point to Higher Open

Stock futures pointed to a higher start for Wall Street on Monday, ahead of data that could show a pickup in manufacturing conditions in the New York region and after an upbeat survey of euro-zone business activity weighed on the dollar.

Traders were also gearing up for this week's an all-important Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

In trading that was choppy throughout Asia and Europe's early session, futures for the Dow industrials most recently rose 60 points, or 0.4%, to 15762, while those for the Nasdaq 100 gained 14.25 points, or 0.4% to 3467.50. Futures for the S&P 500 index rose 6.6 points to 1775.10.

The Empire State index of general business conditions is due for release at 8:30 a.m. EST, and could show manufacturing conditions in the New York region turning positive in December after a negative reading last month. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect a reading of 5.0 from negative 2.2 in November.

At 9:15 a.m. EST, industrial production for November is expected to show a rise of 0.6%, versus a 0.1% fall in the prior month.

While stock futures were getting a bid, investors are braced for the Fed meeting this week, with much uncertainty surrounding whether the central bank will decide to pare its bond-buying program. The FOMC convenes on Tuesday for its two-day policy-setting meeting, with a verdict on tapering due Wednesday afternoon.

Wall Street stocks rebounded Friday, but ended the week lower. The S&P 500 index closed the week down 1.7%, while other major indexes also ended with losses of 1.5% or more.

Futures and European stocks rose after data out of Europe showed business activity in the euro zone picked up in December, apart from in France. German manufacturers recorded the fastest growth in 31 months. The dollar fell on that data.

Futures shrugged off data that showed growth in China's manufacturing sector slowing to a three-month low, according to initial results from HSBC's monthly survey out Monday. That data weighed on Chinese stocks and the Australian dollar.