Stock Futures Rise Ahead of 'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Monday ahead of the final day for legislators in Washington to avoid tax hikes and deep across-the-board spending cuts that would go into effect at midnight if Congress can't reach a temporary deal.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.52%, or 67 points, at 12,844. Futures for the S&P 500 were adding 0.81%, or 11.25 points, to 1395. Nasdaq futures were gaining 0.52%, or 13.5 points, with a fair value of 2600.

Reports surfaced early Monday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden had made "major progress" toward a budget deal.

Congress failed to reach an agreement over the weekend as Democrats and Republicans went back and forth on where they should set a threshold of income for individuals and families.

Democrats had hoped to increase taxes on those individuals who had earned more than $360,000 each year and families with incomes of $450,000, but Senate Republicans suggested the individual tax hikes go to those earning $450,000 or more and on couples making a yearly amount of $550,000.

"There's still significant distance between the two sides, but negotiations continue," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday night.

Stocks fell on Friday as investors feared legislators would fail to reach any sort of deal by the Jan. 1 deadline.

President Barack Obama emerged after the closing bell on Friday to say that he had engaged in a "constructive discussion" with House and Senate leadership about preventing tax hikes on the middle class.

"But if an agreement isn't reached in time between Sen. Reid and Sen. Mitch McConnell, then I will urge Sen. Reid to bring to the floor a basic package for an up-or-down vote," Obama said on Friday.

The president said the basic package would include a plan to protect middle-class tax cuts, extend unemployment insurance and groundwork for deficit reduction.

The economic calendar on Monday includes the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey at 10:30 a.m. EST.

The FTSE 100 in London was dipping 0.47%, while the DAX in Germany was down 0.57%. Asian markets finished mixed on Monday as investors there appeared uncertain as to whether the U.S. would reach a so-called fiscal cliff deal. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.04% to 22,657. Japanese markets were closed.

Gold for February delivery was tacking on $6.60 to $1,662.50 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while February crude oil contracts were dropping 44 cents to $90.36 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 6/32, boosting the yield to 1.720%. The dollar was up 0.15%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Duff & Phelps ( DUF) announced that it had agreed to a group of private-equity investors to purchase the company for $665.5 million in cash. Shares of the company were surging 19.9% in premarket trades.

Carlyle Group, Stone Point Capital LLC, Pictet & Cie and Edmond de Rothschild Group were all part of the purchasing deal.

Tribune Co. said it would emerge from its bankruptcy on Monday. The media company, whichowns The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, sought bankruptcy in 2008.

Apple ( AAPL) withdrew patents claims against Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini phone after the South Korean company announced it wouldn't offer to sell the gadget in the U.S., according to a Reuters report. Shares of Apple were rising 0.47% in premarket action.

Shares of Bank of America ( BAC) were adding 0.62% during Monday's premarket session.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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