|Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures pointed to a stronger open Tuesday, continuing the previous session's beginning-of-the-year rally that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average finish at a 28-month high on data that pointed to a strengthening global recovery. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 45 points, or 22 points above fair value, at 11,630. Futures for the S&P 500 were 4 points higher, or nearly 2 points above fair value, at 1270, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 8 points, or 5 points above fair value. Stocks closed Monday's session with gains of roughly 1% as encouraging manufacturing and construction data got the new year off to a strong start. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1% and Japan's Nikkei soared 1.7%. London's FTSE was gaining 2.4% and the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 0.4%. At 10 a.m. ET, economists expect the Department of Commerce to report a 0.3% dip in factory orders in November, compared with October's decline of 0.9%, according to Briefing.com. 2 p.m. brings the Federal Open Market Committee's minutes from its meeting on Dec. 14, which market watchers will analyze for further details about future plans for the Fed's quantitative easing program.
Also during the afternoon session, the market will get auto sales for December. According to Briefing.com, economists anticipate auto sales of 3.7 million after sales of 3.8 million in November and truck sales are expected to come in at 5.3 million, compared with 5.5 million in November. Shares of BP ( BP) were up 2% to $45.15 ahead of Friday's opening bell on news that Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) is
interested in a takeover of the British oil company. In commodity markets, the February crude oil contract was trading 29 cents higher at $91.84 a barrel. The February gold contract was down by $14.70 to trade at $1,408.20 an ounce. The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.2%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note weakened 8/32, lifting the yield to 3.368%. . --Written by Melinda Peer in New York.