U.S. stock futures advanced Tuesday, with the start of the second half of 2014 kicking off with updates on automobile sales, manufacturing activity and construction spending.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJU4) rose 41 points, or 0.2%, to 16,781, while those for the S&P 500 (SPU4) picked up 4.6 points, or 0.2%, to reach 1,957. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 (NDU4) were up 11 points, or 0.3%, at 3,851.75.
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Shares of General Motors Co. (GM.XX)and Ford Motor Co. (F), along with other automobile manufacturers may be on the move as the industry rolls out U.S. sales figures for June throughout the trading session. Analysts expect, on average, stronger sales than in the same month in 2013, keeping the industry on track for a more than 3% sales increase this year to 16.4 million cars.
GM will also be in focus after the company on Monday added about 7.6 million vehicles to its safety recalls in the U.S., covering model years 1997 through 2014.
Two separate reports on the manufacturing sector are due, with the first scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. Eastern time. Data firm Markit will issue the final reading of its U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index for June. Its preliminary figure, reported last week, was 57.5, up from 56.4 in May.
Ahead of the U.S. reports, two separate manufacturing PMIs from China showed improvement in June, but manufacturing activity in the euro zone slowed.
At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the Institute for Supply Management's June manufacturing report is forecast to come in at 55.7%, edging from 55.4% in May. "Overall, the ISM continues to point to an expansion in the manufacturing sector, which has been one of the better performing sectors in the U.S. economy," said Mizuho strategist Sireen Harajli in a Monday note.
A report on construction spending in May from the Commerce Department is expected at 10 a.m. Eastern. Outlays for projects are likely to rise 0.7%, according to economists polled by MarketWatch.
Shares of Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL)could see action as the maker of Skippy peanut butter and Spam meat product agreed late Monday to buy privately held Muscle Milk producer CytoSport Inc. for $450 million.
Meanwhile, Oracle Corp. (ORCL)on Tuesday said it priced $10 billion in notes and plans to use the proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes. That may involve stock buybacks, paying cash dividends, repaying debt and funding future takeovers, including its pending acquisition of Micros Systems Inc. (MCRS) Oracle's bond pricing is among the largest corporate-bond deals of the year, according to a Wall Street Journal calculation.
Also in Silicon Valley news, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)reached a settlement in three shareholder lawsuits related to its purchase of software firm Autonomy in 2011.
In other markets, Japan's Nikkei Average rose 1.1% and Europe's Stoxx 600 was higher, with BNP Paribas SA gaining after the French bank agreed to an $8.8 billion settlement with U.S. authorities in a sanction probe.
U.S. benchmark crude-oil futures (CLQ4)rose 30 cents to $105.69 a barrel and gold futures (GCQ4)climbed $5.30 to $1,327.30 an ounce.
U.S. stocks on Monday locked in gains for June and the second quarter as well as semiannual advances. For the first half of 2014, the S&P 500 (SPX)rose 6.1%, the Dow industrials (DJI)climbed 1.5%, and the Nasdaq (RIXF)gained 5.5%.