U.S. futures rise ahead of data; Dow Jones up 0.20%

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Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, ahead of U.S. economic data, as investors continued to focus on U.S. budget negociations.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.20% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.15% increase, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.24% gain.

Investor confidence was boosted by signs of progress in negotiations aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff, automatic tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect on January 1, which investors fear could threaten U.S. and global growth.

Sentiment also improved after data showed that German business confidence continued to improve in December, in spite of the deteriorating outlook for the euro zone economy.

The Ifo economic institute's German business climate index came in at 102.4 points this month, up from 101.4 in November, beating analysts' expectations for a reading of 102.0.

Tech stocks were expected to be active, after a U.S. judge ruled that Google's Motorola Mobility unit cannot assert a patent against Apple which covers a sensor that stops phone users from dialing wrong numbers on touchscreen devices. Google shares were up 0.10% in pre-market trade.

Separately, the New York Times reported that the Federal Trade Commission is unlikely to finish its investigation before January into whether Google abused its power in the search market.

In the same sector, Oracle jumped 1.86% in early trading after the company's quarterly profit beat analysts' expectations, boosted by strong software sales growth.

Elsewhere, industrial machinery maker SPX Corp was said to be closing in on a roughly USD4.2 billion deal to buy rival Gardner Denver.

Also in company news, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer plans to cut about 20% of its sales force for primary-care drugs, according to a Bloomberg report.

Other stocks in focus included Accenture, the technology outsourcing and consulting company, due to report first quarter results after the market close.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.52%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.46%, Germany's DAX added 0.20%, while Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.50%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 0.57%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.39%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish government data on building permits, housing starts and crude oil stockpiles.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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