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Stock Futures Rise After Caterpillar, Durable Goods Reports

Stocks in this article: ^DJI^GSPC^IXICYHOOTMCATJOSBFBFURXKERX

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Monday after a better-than-expected earnings report from Caterpillar (CAT) and a jump in durable goods orders for December.

Investors also were looking ahead to fourth-quarter gross domestic product numbers on Wednesday, the first two-day Federal Reserve meeting of the year later starting Tuesday, and the January nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 29 points, or 8.02 points above fair value, at 13,841. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 2.50 points, or 0.54 points above fair value, at 1498. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 4 points, or 1.82 points above fair value, at 2732.

Caterpillar (CAT) shares were jumping by 2.41% after the heavy construction and mining equipment maker posted fourth-quarter profit of $1.91 a share, excluding a non-cash charge of 87 cents a share, on revenue of $16.08 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $1.70 a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $16.12 billion.

The company cautioned that it remains cautious about the global economy. While Caterpillar expects some improvement in the U.S. economy, growth could be relatively weak, the company said.

"We believe China's economy will continue to improve, but not to the growth rates of 2010 and 2011. We also remain concerned about Europe and expect economies in that region will continue to struggle in 2013," Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said in a press release.

Fiscal policy worries were raised by analysts Monday.

Maury Harris, an economist at UBS, noted that the bigger issue regarding fiscal policy in the near-term is the uncertainty surrounding the debt limit and borrowing capacity, the sequestration on March 1, and the expiring budget resolution on March 27.

"If the sequester were fully implemented in full-year 2013, it would be very disruptive to growth, particularly in Q3. In our view, a more likely outcome is that the sequestration gets overturned by politicians (possibly retroactively), and is accompanied by another back-loaded, unconvincing long-term deficit reduction plan," said Harris.

Major U.S. stock averages rose Friday, with all three key indices ending the week higher, as Procter & Gamble (PG) shares popped after an upbeat earnings forecast while AT&T (T) advanced after the company posted a narrower quarterly loss.

The S&P 500 on Friday managed to settle above 1,500 for the first time since 2007.

"We are due for a correction, " said Kenny Polcari, director of floor operations at O'Neil Securities, during a Friday evening interview with TheStreet. "I think it's topping, it's churning, it's teasing with 1500. It can't seem to have enough energy to go through it, which makes perfect sense, the market's had a tremendous move over the last three weeks, since the lows of December were up 11% or 12%, with no real pullback and no real consolidation; so no one should be surprised if the market consolidates."

"Quite honestly, as a long-term investor you want to see the market consolidate," Polcari said.

The Census Bureau said Monday that durable-goods orders rose 4.6% in December after rising 0.7% in November. Economists, on average, were expecting orders to tick up 1.8% in December.

Excluding the transportation factor, durable goods orders rose 1.3%, after increasing 1.2% the prior month. The estimate was for an uptick of 0.7%.

The National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. is expected to say that pending home sales rose 0.3% in December after being up 1.7% the previous month.

On the earnings front, Thomson Reuters issued a report Friday that said fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow 2.8% over the year-ago period.

The report said of the 141 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date for the fourth quarter, 67% have posted earnings above analysts' expectations. This is higher than the long-term average of 62% and higher than the average over the past four quarters of 65%.

Thomson Reuters also said that 64% of companies have reported fourth-quarter revenue above analysts' expectations. This is higher than the long-term average of 62% and higher than the average over the past four quarters of 50%.

The DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.03%, while the FTSE was up 0.02%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished up 0.39% and the Nikkei in Japan closed behind by 0.94%.

Gold for February delivery was falling $3.90 at $1,652.70 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures were down 7 cents at $95.81 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 6/32, lowering the yield to 1.935%. The dollar was up by 0.08%, according to the U.S. dollar index .

Yahoo! (YHOO) is expected by analysts Monday to post fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents a share on revenue of $1.21 billion after the market close.

Toyota (TM) is again the world's top automaker, tallying global sales in 2012 of 9.748 million vehicles, topping General Motors, which sold 9.29 million vehicles last year.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers ( JOSB ) shares were dropping by more than 16.5% after the men's tailored and casual clothing company warned Friday that that its fiscal 2012 net income is expected to be about 20% lower than the prior year.

Facebook ( FB ) shares were rising more than 1% after the stock was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Raymond James.

Furiex Pharmaceuticals ( FURX ) shares were surging by more than 34% after the company confirmed that it and its partner Takeda Pharmaceutical has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for three new type-two diabetes therapies.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals ( KERX ) shares were soaring by more than 45% after the company said that its kidney disease treatment fulfilled late-stage trial targets.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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