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
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