NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were surging higher on Monday, the first trading day of 2011, as investor optimism about the U.S. economy swelled after a strong 2010 for equities. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were higher by 63 points at 11,577 and were 61 points above fair value. Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 7 points to 1257 and were about 7 points ahead of fair value. Nasdaq futures were rising 17 points at 2217 and were 17 points above fair value.
The Dow surged 11% in 2010 , helped by strong corporate earnings, a spike in M&A activity and boosts to dividend payouts. The S&P 500 jumped 13%, while the Nasdaq Composite soared 17%. All other asset classes also rallied, with commodities outpacing returns from stocks and bonds as demand from China, tight supply and loose monetary policy boosted the prices of everything from cotton and silver to copper and corn. Global stocks mostly rallied on Monday, even as data from China over the weekend showed manufacturing activity had slipped for the first time in five months. The slowdown encouraged hopes that China will not take steps to curb inflation by raising interest rates. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.7%. Japan's markets were closed. In Europe, Germany's Dax was rising 1.2%. Markets were closed in Britain. The euro was down 0.5% against the dollar at $1.3319. The dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index up 0.4% at $79.33. Several key economic data points are expected this week, including December nonfarm payrolls on Friday. On Monday at 10:00 a.m. EDT, the Institute for Supply Management is expected to say manufacturing activity picked up in December. Economists forecast the ISM Manufacturing Index to rise to 57.3 from 56.6 previously. Also at 10:00 a.m, the Commerce Department will release construction spending data for November. Spending is expected to have risen 0.2% after ticking up 0.7% in October.
Shares of Bank of America ( BAC) jumped 5% in premarket trading. The bank said it will take a $2 billion charge in its fourth quarter as it settles buyback claims on home loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Shares of Alcoa ( AA) were up 2.6% to $15.79 before the bell. Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the stock to buy on strong aluminium prices and upped the price target on the stock to $22. In commodity markets, the February crude oil contract was rising 46 cents to $91.84. Oil futures rose 15% in 2010. The February gold contract slipped 5 cents to $1,416 an ounce as worries about Chinese inflation abated. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was down 13/32, raising the yield to 3.338%. --Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.