Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

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Welcome to the first trading day of 2015.

The bull market is still alive and kicking in the new year. U.S. stocks look poised for a gain.

Here are the four things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Ready for a run: U.S. stock futures are set for a mini surge Friday, rebounding from a drop right ahead of New Year's Eve.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 160 points on the last day of the year, while the S&P 500 fell 1% and the Nasdaq slid 0.9%.

Despite this last-minute dip into the red, 2014 was another record-setting year in the stock market. The Dow finished the year up 7.5%, the S&P 500 rose 11.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq soared 13.4%.

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2. International overview: European markets were declining in early trading as a new report showed the European manufacturing sector had essentially stagnated at the end of the year.

The main indexes in France and Germany were both off by about 1%.

Some Asian markets were closed Friday, but those that were open registered gains for the day.

3. Economic announcements: The ISM manufacturing index will be published at 10 a.m. ET.

At the same time, the U.S. Census Bureau will release data on construction spending.

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4. Check on commodities: Gold and oil prices were fairly steady in early trading.

Crude futures were trading near $53.50 per barrel. Gold prices were sitting at $1,185 per ounce.

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