Stock Futures Signal Higher Wall Street Open

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Monday with investors encouraged by some upbeat overseas data and deals news.

Stocks also were getting a lift from Greek lawmakers managing to pass a harsh 2013 budget over the weekend by a vast majority.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 31 points, or 30.61 points above fair value, at 12,795. Futures for the S&P 500 were up by 4.30 points, or 3.90 points above fair value, at 1380. Futures for the Nasdaq were rising 13 points, or 13.21 points above fair value, at 2593.

China reported over the weekend that its export growth soared to a five-month high in October, surpassing estimates at over 11%, and calming fears that the world's second-largest economy was stalling.

Japan, meanwhile, said that its economy contracted 0.9% in the third quarter, the first contraction in in three quarters, weighed down mostly by weaker external demand.

"China's data is an interesting contrast, with exports doing better than expected (to the U.S. and Asia. Not to Europe, obviously). There is external demand for some product," commented Paul Donovan, a global economist at UBS. "Chinese imports were weaker, but we look for some pick up there in November."

Eurozone finance ministers were scheduled to meet in Brussels Monday and talk about releasing bailout funds to Greece, which is faced with a €4.1 billion ($5.2 billion) government bill redemption on Nov. 16.

"It seems unlikely that any agreement will be finalized at that time," noted Michala Marcussen, head of global economics at Societe Generale. "Indeed, German Finance Minister Schaeuble made it clear in a press interview Sunday that Greece's creditors would not be put under pressure to rush a disbursement. The hurdle lies in the fact that however we twist and turn the equations, Greece needs more money, both in terms of funding flows and debt levels."

Over the weekend, ahead of the finance ministers meeting, the Greek Parliament was able to ratify a tough 2013 budget required to help guarantee the quick payment of its next tranche of bailout money and avoid bankruptcy.

No major U.S. economic releases were expected Monday. The bond market was closed and most federal workers were off in observance of Veteran's Day.

Economic releases later this week include the consumer price report on Thursday and several manufacturing indicators, such as the Empire manufacturing, Philly Fed, and industrial production reports.

There will also be retail sales data on Wednesday, where there could be distortions due to Hurricane Sandy.

The FTSE 100 in London was up by 0.24%, while the DAX in Germany was up 0.29%. Japan's Nikkei average settled down 0.93% on Monday and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed higher by 0.21%.

Gold for December delivery was rising $3.60 to $1,734.50 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts were down 45 cents at $85.62.

The dollar was down 0.05%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Leucadia National ( LUK) will merge with Jefferies Group ( JEF), the two companies announced on Monday.

Jefferies shares were soaring nearly 20% in premarket trading; Leucadia shares were gaining more than 4%.

Titanium Metals ( TIE) shares were surging more than 43% after the titanium manufacturer entered a deal to be bought by Precision Castparts ( PCP) for $16.50 a share in cash, putting the value of the company at about $2.9 billion.

Research In Motion ( RIMM) shares were adding more than 4.5% as the company announced that it will hold its BlackBerry 10 launch event on Jan. 30, 2013.

Best Buy ( BBY) will hire Sharon McCollam, the former Williams-Sonoma ( WSM) chief financial officer, as its next finance chief.

Best Buy shares were rising more than 2%.

Apple ( AAPL) and Taiwanese gadget manufacturer HTC have settled their patent dispute.

Apple shares were gaining 0.71%.

Lockheed Martin ( LMT) has ousted its president and chief operating officer, Christopher Kubasik, after an investigation found he had a relationship with a subordinate.

Kubasik was scheduled to become CEO of the defense company in January.

The company named Marillyn Hewson to assume the CEO role, effective Jan. 31. Hewson, most recently executive vice president of Electronic Systems at the company, took on the president and operating chief positions immediately as well.

Shares were up incrementally.

The Securities and Exchange Commission won't charge any individuals in its planned enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) for the allegedly fraudulent sale of mortgage bonds, the Journal reported, citing people close to the investigation.

The bank will pay a significant financial penalty under the proposed deal, people close to the probe told the newspaper.

The settlement stems from a wide-ranging SEC probe that dates back to 2010. The proposed deal wouldn't require JPMorgan to admit to wrongdoing or face any allegations against any current or former executives, the people added, the Journal reported.

JPMorgan shares were rising 0.81%.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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