Stocks poised for higher open

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U.S. stock futures were higher Monday as investors start the holiday-shortened week optimistic that fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington are progressing.

Gains may be tempered by escalating violence in the Middle East between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas. Oil prices have been ticking up amid growing concern about a possible ground war in Gaza.

Crude oil for January delivery rose 1.3% to $88.02 a barrel. Brent crude -- Europe's benchmark -- gained 1.2% to $110.28 a barrel.

Trading could be choppy this week as investors try to position themselves ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Markets will be closed Thursday and have a shortened day Friday.

U.S. stocks ended with slight gains Friday.

World Markets: European stocks were higher in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.2%, and France's CAC 40 was up 1.6% while the DAX in Germany edged up 1.5%.

Asian markets closed higher. The Shanghai Composite edged up 0.1%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was up 0.5% and Japan's Nikkei rallied 1.4%.

Economy: The National Association of Realtors will release data on existing home sales for October at 10 a.m. ET.

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Companies: Shares of Lowe's (LOW) rose in premarket trading after the home improvement retailer reported better-than-expected earnings of 40 cents a share on sales of $12.1 billion. Nokia (NOK) shares jumped 3% on reports that its Lumia 920 sold out in Germany, and shares of Best Buy (BBY) jumped on a report that the retailer might consider a lower buyout bid from founder Richard Schulze.

Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) and a number of movie theater chains, including Regal Entertainment Group (RGC), Cinemark Holdings (CNK) and Carmike Cinemas (CKEC), could get a lift from a the $141.3 million opening weekend for "Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2." It's the fourth movie this year to open above the $140 million mark.

Fear & Greed Index

Currencies and commodities: The dollar was lower against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen in early trading.

Gold futures for December delivery gained $8.90 to $1,723.60 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, lifting the yield to 1.61% from 1.57% late Friday.

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