Wall Street Set to Kick Off 2012 in Rally Mode

FOX Business: The Power to Prosper

U.S. stock-index futures soared in the first session of 2012 as traders cheered a round of positive economic data from around the globe.

Today's Markets

As of 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rallied 190 points to 12340, S&P 500 futures jumped 20 points to 1273 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 35.6 points to 2,310.

Market participants cited a slew of economic data for the upbeat tone on Tuesday.

A gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity showed the world's second-biggest economy began expanding in December after contracting the prior month. The country's official purchasing managers index hit 50.3 from the month from 49 in November.

Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, saw its unemployment rate fall 0.1 percentage point to 6.8%, striking a new record low unified Germany, according to Reuters. Manufacturing reports from Australia and India were also seen as strong, traders said.

The Institute for Supply Management's read of U.S. manufacturing is on tap for 10:00 a.m. ET. The gauge likely increased to 53.2 from 52.7 in December, indicating the sector is expanding at an increasing pace, economists say. A separate report from the Commerce Department is forecast to show construction spending increased 0.5% in November from October.

The Federal Reserve is also set to release the minutes from its December meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. markets were closed on Monday, as were many world markets. However, Germany's DAX rallied 3% on the day, and the broad Euro Stoxx 600 jumped more than 1%.

The euro jumped 0.9% to $1.305, while the U.S. dollar declined 0.63% against a basket of six world currencies.

Energy futures were strongly to the upside, getting a boost from worries that mounting tension between the United States and Iran may ultimately lead to a supply shock and hopes that strong economic data may boost demand.

The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York jumped $2.47, or 2.5%, to $101.29 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline gained 4 cents, or 1.4%, to $2.694 a barrel.

In metals, gold jumped $27.80, or 1.8%, to $1,595 a troy ounce. Silver was up 87 cents, or 3.1%, to $28.74 a troy ounce.

Treasury yields climbed as traders dropped the safe-haven asset. The benchmark 10-year note yields 1.942% from 1.874%.

Corporate News

3M (NYSE:MMM) unveiled plans to scoop up Avery Dennison's (NYSE:AVY) office and consumer products business for $550 million in cash.

TOTAL (NYSE:TOT) acquired a chunk of Chesapeake Energy's (NYSE:CHK) Ohio shale operation for $2.32 billion.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips fell 0.43%, the English FTSE 100 jumped 0.98% to 5,627 and the German DAX gained 0.58% to 6,111.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.67% to 8,455 and the Chinese Hang Seng soared 2.4% to 18,877.