Stock Futures Gain as Durable-Goods Orders Jump

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --  Stock futures were gaining on Tuesday as a report showed the demand for manufacturing increased in November.

Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 0.03% 1,823.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were adding 0.06% to 16,248, while Nasdaq futures were up 0.04% to 3,566.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that durable-goods orders for November jumped 3.5% from the prior month -- orders dropped 0.7% in October -- and new orders excluding transportation increased 1.2%. Economists were expecting orders to rise 1.5% and 0.8%, respectively.

Markets jumped on Monday as improved consumer spending and sentiment data coupled with an upgrade in the International Monetary Fund's outlook for the U.S. economy added to a raft of economic news in recent weeks that suggested the economy is growing at a healthy clip despite a pullback in Federal Reserve stimulus.

Investors are awaiting new-home sales at 10 a.m. EST

Major equity markets will close at 1 p.m. on Tuesday for the Christmas break, and reopen Thursday at the regularly scheduled time.

In company news, shares of Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) were ticking higher Tuesday morning after a report emerged that private-equity firm Carlyle Group (CG) is nearing an agreement to buy the company's ortho clinical diagnostics unit, sources told Reuters. Shares were up 0.2% to $92.21.

Traders were keeping an eye on Target (TGT) as the Justice Department has opened an investigation into the credit and debit card security breach connected to some 40 million accounts that were stolen from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.

Retail sales data continued to look week for the 2013 holiday season as a report from ShopperTrak said that sales at U.S. stores dropped 3.1% for the week ended Sunday against the same time a year earlier. It marked a third-straight week of declining retail sales, which dropped 2.9 and 0.8%, in the prior two weeks, respectively. ShopperTrak collects data from 40,000 locations.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York

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