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Stock Market Today: Futures Rise, S&P 500 Sits Near All-Time Highs to Begin September

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were drifting higher Tuesday as investors return from the U.S. labor day weekend to begin September, which historically is considered the "worst" month of the year for markets.

The August government nonfarm payrolls report, the August ISM manufacturing composite index, and the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday are among the economic events on tap for the week.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures were up 35 points, or 34.55 points above fair value, to 17,120. S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures were higher by 3.75 point, or 3.83 points above fair value, to 2,005.25. Nasdaq (^IXIC) futures rose 11.5 points, or 11.44 points above fair value, to 4,093.5.

U.S. markets closed just slightly higher on Friday, capping four straight weekly gains and booking their best August since 2000, despite the geopolitical concerns weighing on the markets. The close also marked the biggest monthly gain since February. The S&P 500 hit a new closing high.

"While some clients remain focused on the Fed and the tapering process, we have long pointed to EPS growth as justification for higher stock prices ... following an earnings season in which EPS grew by roughly double-digits," said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG.

uropean Stocks Rise on Hopes for Stimulus Moves

European and Asian markets were generally in a cautiously positive mood Tuesday morning, generally from hoped-for government or central bank attempts to arrest underlying economic decline. In the eurozone, the attention was squarely focused on Thursday's meeting of the ECB and hopes of moves toward a policy of quantitative easing.

U.S. economic reports for the day will include the August ISM manufacturing composite index at 10 a.m. EDT, construction spending for July at 10 a.m., and the Markit PMI manufacturing index for August at 9:45 a.m. The ISM manufacturing composite index is expected to stay in expansionary territory at 56.8, down from 57.1 in July, which was the strongest reading since April 2011.

The Federal Reserve is expected to keep a close eye on Friday's jobs report. The central bank's labor market conditions index that was referenced by Fed Chair Janet Yellen in her Jackson Hole, Wyo., speech sources much of its data from the report.

In corporate news, Dollar General (DG - Get Report) raised its offer for Family Dollar (FDO) on Tuesday to $80 a share, or $9.1 billion, from $78.50 a share. Dollar General rose 1.69% to $65.07 in premarket trading. Family Dollar was up 0.84% to $80.50.

France's Iliad may improve its $15 billion offer for T-Mobile US (TMUS) but has set specific limits on how much money it would raise to fund any deal, Reuters reported.

United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.7% to $35.51 and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was off 1.38% to $122.15.


--By Andrea Tse in New York


Follow @AndreaTTse

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