Stocks: A positive fourth quarter start

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U.S. stock futures were higher Monday as Wall Street took its cue from European markets.

European stocks rallied after Spain passed two major hurdles last week when it proposed its 2013 budget and results from bank stress tests were in line with expectations. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.1%, while the DAX in Germany and France's CAC 40 increased 1.4%.

A report on eurozone manufacturing showed continued contraction, though the 46.1 figure for September was a six-month high. Any reading below 50 signals contraction. But unemployment remains worrisome, with the region's unemployment rate coming in at a record high of 11.4% in August, unchanged from the previous month's revised figure.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei declined 0.8% after a central bank survey showed business sentiment has fallen. Markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for a holiday. A report on manufacturing activity in China rose to 49.8 in September, up from 49.2 in the prior month.

Related: Individual investors miss the rally again

In the United States, the Institute for Supply Management will release its manufacturing Index for September at 10 a.m. ET. It is expected to tick up to 49.7 from 49.6 in the month prior, according to a survey of analysts by The Census Bureau will release data on construction spending for August at 10 a.m. ET.

All eyes will be on the labor market this week, with figures about private sector job growth from paycheck processing firm ADP and weekly initial jobless claims setting the stage for Friday's all-important monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.

U.S. stocks ended the third quarter on a weak note Friday. But year-to-date, all three major indexes have put in a stellar performance, with the Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite up between 10% to 20%.

Obama, Romney clash on financial regulation
Obama, Romney clash on financial regulation

Companies: Shares of Ceradyne (CRDN) surged 43% in premarket trading after 3M (MMM) announced it would buy the ceramic components maker for $860 million.

Nokia (NOK) shares were up about 1% on news the mobile phone maker signed a mapping service deal with Oracle (ORCL).

The prospects of a huge consolidation in the international mining industry looked brighter, after Xstrata's (XSRAF) board of directors said it was backing a revised offer from Glencore International (GLCNF). The merger was first proposed in February, but had been delayed by shareholder objections.

Related: China manufacturing slump drags on

Currencies and commodities: The dollar weakened against the euro, but rose against the British pound and Japanese yen.

Oil for November delivery fell 13 cents to $92.06 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery gained $3.80 to $1,777.90 an ounce.

Fear & Greed Index

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 1.62% from 1.64% late Friday.

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