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Stock Futures Rise Ahead of 'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Monday ahead of the final day for legislators in Washington to avoid tax hikes and deep across-the-board spending cuts that would go into effect at midnight if Congress can't reach a temporary deal.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.52%, or 67 points, at 12,844. Futures for the S&P 500 were adding 0.81%, or 11.25 points, to 1395. Nasdaq futures were gaining 0.52%, or 13.5 points, with a fair value of 2600.

Reports surfaced early Monday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden had made "major progress" toward a budget deal.

Congress failed to reach an agreement over the weekend as Democrats and Republicans went back and forth on where they should set a threshold of income for individuals and families.

Democrats had hoped to increase taxes on those individuals who had earned more than $360,000 each year and families with incomes of $450,000, but Senate Republicans suggested the individual tax hikes go to those earning $450,000 or more and on couples making a yearly amount of $550,000.

"There's still significant distance between the two sides, but negotiations continue," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday night.

Stocks fell on Friday as investors feared legislators would fail to reach any sort of deal by the Jan. 1 deadline.

President Barack Obama emerged after the closing bell on Friday to say that he had engaged in a "constructive discussion" with House and Senate leadership about preventing tax hikes on the middle class.

"But if an agreement isn't reached in time between Sen. Reid and Sen. [Mitch] McConnell, then I will urge Sen. Reid to bring to the floor a basic package for an up-or-down vote," Obama said on Friday.

The president said the basic package would include a plan to protect middle-class tax cuts, extend unemployment insurance and groundwork for deficit reduction.

The economic calendar on Monday includes the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey at 10:30 a.m. EST.

The FTSE 100 in London was dipping 0.47%, while the DAX in Germany was down 0.57%. Asian markets finished mixed on Monday as investors there appeared uncertain as to whether the U.S. would reach a so-called fiscal cliff deal. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.04% to 22,657. Japanese markets were closed.
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