Stock Futures Rise Despite Government Shutdown

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street Tuesday even after U.S. lawmakers failed to reach an emergency budget deal on time amid an impasse over the ongoing rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

It's the first government shutdown in 17 years. Investors, however, remained optimistic that the closure of nonessential services won't last long enough to cause a serious dent to the growth of the economy.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 3.5 points, or 3.2 points above fair value, to 1,677.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 28 points, or 25.33 points above fair value, to 15,074. Futures for the Nasdaq were up by 7 points, or 6.25 points above fair value, to 3,216.

Merck ( MRK) was popping 3.01% to $49.04 in premarket trading after the U.S. drug maker announced a large scale plan to sharpen its commercial, and research and development focus. The plan consists of workforce reductions by about 8,500 positions and initially targeting a reduction in annual operating expenses by about $2.5 billion by the end of 2015.

Google ( GOOG) was gaining 0.75% to $882.50 as the search giant appears to be making significant progress in resolving its antitrust dispute with the European Union as the EU's competition chief says that the company has offered to modify how it displays Internet search results, Reuters reported.

Diamond Foods ( DMND) shares were plunging 7.22% to $21.85 after the company said that it expects to face significant sales and contribution headwinds including costs associated with the Emerald re-launch and lower walnut supply.

Automakers such as General Motors ( GM) and Ford ( F) are scheduled to release auto sales data for September on Tuesday. Sales in September are expected to total around 1.1 million, according to Edmunds.com, down 4% from a year earlier and 24% below sales in August, which was the best month in more than six years. Ford shares were up marginally to $16.89 in premarket trading.

Economic data from the government are expected to experience disruption Tuesday because of the partial government shutdown. However, private data is still expected to be published at the originally scheduled time.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index is scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. EDT and is expected by economists to show a slip to 55 for September from 55.7 in August.

Originally scheduled to be out at the same were construction spending numbers for August from the Census Bureau.

Manufacturing expansion in the U.S. eased to a three-month low in September at 52.8, according to the final Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index ahead of the market open.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.19% and the DAX in Germany was climbing 0.64%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan settled up 0.2%. The mainland China and Hong Kong markets were closed for a national holiday.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 8/32, bolstering the yield to 2.64%. The dollar was falling 0.18% to $80.08 according to the U.S. dollar index.

December gold futures were rising $4.50 to $1,331.50 an ounce, while November crude oil futures were down 19 cents to $102.14 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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