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Stocks Heat Up Despite Fed Tapering Concerns

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Futures for the broader market were gaining traction Monday as concerns about early Federal Reserve tapering of economic stimulus, following a spate of upbeat reports last week, was offset by optimism that the better data could translate into improved consumer confidence and increased spending.

Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) shares were adding on 1.84% to $43.19 after analysts at UBS upgraded the electronic retailer stock to "buy" from "neutral" and raised the price target to $49 from $35 on optimism about the company's earnings growth.

Express (EXPR - Get Report) shares were poised to open higher after Goldman Sachs analysts initiated coverage on the apparel retailer with a "buy" and a $28 price target, explaining that the company is poised for "outsized" earnings growth.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 2.25 points, or 1.59 points above fair value, to 1,768.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 16 points, or 7.22 points above fair value, to 15,716. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 2 points, or 0.76 points above fair value, to 3,362.5.

The S&P 500 rose 0.51% for the week last week and was up 24.15% year to date following uplifting reports on the U.S. labor market in October and third-quarter economic expansion. Furthermore, the European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate to stimulate growth.

Viropharma Pharmaceuticals (VPHM) shares were soaring more than 25% to $49.42 in premarket trading, and Shire SHPG was gaining 3.23% to $138.74 on their announcement that Shire is buying Viropharma Pharmaceuticals for $4.2 billion to bolster its portfolio of drugs treating rare diseases.

Grifols GRFS was adding 5.31% to $31.55 after the healthcare company said that it will buy the transfusion diagnostics unit of Novartis NVS for $1.675 billion.

All eyes will be on Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday as the nominee to replace Ben Bernanke as chair of the central bank will testify at a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.3% while the DAX in Germany was higher by 0.12%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed higher by 1.43% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan increased 1.3%.

December crude oil futures were down 29 cents to $94.31 a barrel and December gold futures were down $1 to $1,283.60 an ounce.

Bond markets were closed in observance of Veteran's Day. Overall U.S. stock trading volumes are expected to be light given the U.S. holiday.

--Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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