Stocks poised for manufacturing boost

@CNNMoneyInvest February 1, 2012: 8:36 AM ET

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were headed for a modestly higher open Wednesday, as investors welcomed stronger manufacturing data around the world.

S&P 500 (SPX), Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were up about 0.6% ahead of the opening bell. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Manufacturing activity picked up in China, Germany, France and the United Kingdom in January, according to separate reports. Investors will also closely watch a reading on U.S. manufacturing, the ISM Manufacturing Index, due later in the morning.

Meanwhile, the other big news Wednesday looks likely to be Facebook's long-awaited IPO filing. According to reports from outlets including the New York Times and CNBC, Facebook is seeking to raise up to $5 billion in its offering.

If that number is correct, Facebook would by far be the largest global IPO by an Internet-focused company, according to data from Dealogic. Some experts have suggested that the social network could be valued between $75 billion and $100 billion once it starts trading, which will likely happen a few months after its initial filing.

Europe: 4 things you need to know

Meanwhile, anxieties over Greece and its struggle to broker a debt-reduction deal with private-sector creditors continue to underpin sentiment.

U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range Tuesday, after worse-than-expected U.S. housing and manufacturing data tempered the modest enthusiasm over Europe's progress on a new pact aimed at promoting fiscal discipline.

World markets: European stocks posted solid gains in mid-day trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) added 1.3%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany gained 1.9% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) rose 1.5%.

Asian markets ended most lower. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) fell 1.1%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong dropped 0.3% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) was flat.

Economy: A weaker-than-expected report on private-sector jobs from payroll processing firm ADP briefly spooked investors.

The ADP report showed that the private sector added 170,000 jobs in January. The report was expected to show that 200,000 jobs were added last month, according to a survey of analysts by, down from the revised gains of 292,000 the month prior.

The ISM Manufacturing Index for January is expected to stand at 54.5, up from 53.9 in December. Meanwhile, a report on December construction spending is expected to show an increase in 0.4%, versus the month prior.

Companies: NYSE Euronext (NYX, Fortune 500) announced early Wednesday that it will terminate its merger agreement with Deutsche Boerse. The proposed $10 billion takeover of the operator of the New York Stock Exchange would have created the world's largest exchange, but was quashed by European officials.

Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500) is recalling 1 million packs of birth control pills, after the pharmaceutical giant discovered that some blister packs may contain an inexact count of inert or active ingredient tablets, and that the tablets may be out of sequence. Birth control pills typically have to be taken in sequence to be effective. Pfizer shares slid 0.8%.

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Shares of Tupperware (TUP) fell nearly 2% after the company reported earnings per share that fell 3 cents short of forecasts. Hershey's (HSY, Fortune 500) shares edged lower after the chocolate maker reported earnings and sales in line with estimates.

Whirlpool (WHR, Fortune 500) shares rose 5.5% in premarket trading after the company beat Wall Street expectations on both earnings and revenue.

Broadcom's (BRCM, Fortune 500) stock also got a boost after the seminconductor firm reported slightly better results and issued a brighter outlook.

Two years after its bankruptcy and U.S. bailout, Chrysler Group posted 2011 net income of $183 million, its first annual profit since 2005. Although the company is no longer publicly traded, its results boosted shares of its competitors, General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) and Ford (F, Fortune 500) about 0.5% in premarket trading.

Shares of online retailer Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) plunged 9.1% in premarket trading, after the company reported quarterly revenue late Tuesday that missed analysts' estimates. But the company beat profit expectations.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound.

Oil for March delivery gained 24 cents to $98.72 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery rose $9.40 to $1,749.80 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.83% from 1.80% late Tuesday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,987.47 -103.01 -0.41%
Nasdaq 7,747.02 0.65 0.01%
S&P 500 2,773.87 -5.79 -0.21%
Treasuries 2.93 0.00 0.07%
Data as of 4:21pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Advanced Micro Devic... 17.11 0.77 4.71%
AT&T Inc 32.19 -0.96 -2.90%
General Electric Co 13.20 -0.10 -0.75%
Bank of America Corp... 29.40 0.12 0.41%
Intel Corp 53.22 -1.89 -3.43%
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