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U.S. stock-index futures drifted higher on Monday as traders eyed upbeat data from China and awaited a key American manufacturing report.
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As of 8:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 16 points, or 0.1%, to 16720, S&P 500 futures advanced 1 point, or 0.05%, to 1923 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 4 points, or 0.11%, to 3739.
The Dow and S&P 500 capped May at all-time closing highs. However, trading volume was light as Wall Street entered its traditional summer doldrums, leaving some to question the conviction of the gains.
The month kicked off with promising data from China. The country's official purchasing manager's index rose slightly to 50.8 in May from 50.4 in April. The data suggest the manufacturing sector in the world's second-biggest economy is expanding at a slightly faster rate -- still, though, it remains close to the flat-line.
"...as we all fear a pronounced China slowdown, the markets are taking the news positively," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.
A slight downward revision to a gauge of eurozone factory activity, coupled with tepid German inflation data, also had some analysts heightening their expectations that the European Central bank could unleash a bond-buying program at its meeting Friday.
On the U.S. front, traders will get a look at manufacturing activity from the Institute for Supply Management at 10 a.m. ET. Economists said the sector likely revved up slightly in May from the month prior. The report comes ahead of a slew of data on the labor market, capped with the Labor Department's monthly jobs report, due out on Friday.
On the corporate front, a handful of drug companies, including Merck (NYSE:MRK), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), revealed promising studies on immunotherapy treatments aimed at melanoma.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to unveil software updates at its annual developers conference, which kicks off Monday.
Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 3 cents, or 0.03%, to $102.74 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.57% to $3 a gallon. Gold rose $1.50, or 0.11%, to $1,247 a troy ounce.