By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Monday after a round of upbeat data in Asia helped sentiment, largely offsetting worries about a potential military strike in Syria.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJU3) climbed 37 points, or 0.3%, to 14,946. Those for the S&P 500 index (SPU3) gained 4.20 points, or 0.3%, to 1,657.70, while futures for the Nasdaq 100 index (NDU3) rose 15 points, or 0.5%, to 3,144.50.
The gains came on a relatively quiet data day, with attention instead turning to a strong trading day in Asia and developments in the Syria conflict.
Chinese stocks surged on Monday after trade data out over the weekend showed a pickup in exports in August, the latest sign the world's second largest economy is stabilizing. Additionally, stocks rose in Japan after data showed the country's economy grew much faster in the second quarter than initially estimated. Japanese investors also reacted to news that Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympics.
In the U.S., Syria remained in the center of attention as President Barack Obama's tried to gain wider support to launch a military intervention in the country on the back of the government's supposed chemical attack against civilians.
The President has said military action against Syria is necessary, but that he will seek congressional authorization on the use of force. Congress returns from recess on Monday and a vote on the issue is expected later this week.
As part of his campaigning, Obama is planning a television blitz Monday evening, a day ahead of his scheduled televised speech to the nation, in an attempt to gain support for a strike as opposition rises in both Congress and across the country.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry continued the White House's push to build European support, stressing the moral case for a strike at a press conference with U.K. foreign minister William Hague.
Syria was also in the spotlight last week, although partly overshadowed by the latest jobs report in the U.S. released on Friday. The nonfarm-payrolls report showed 169,000 jobs were added to the economy in August, short of forecasts and adding to uncertainty of whether the Federal Reserve will start tapering its asset purchases after its September meeting.
Apart from a Monday speech by San Francisco Fed President John Williams, who isn't a voter, Fed members are expected to keep quiet publicly in the run-up to the meeting. Read: Economic preview.
Analysts at Danske Bank said in a note on Monday that the data potentially open the door "for the Fed to postpone scaling back QE until the October meeting."
"Nonetheless, other recent data have all pointed to further improvement on the labor market, thus suggesting that a September start to tapering is still the most likely outcome. The desire to avoid excessive market volatility is a further argument," the analysts said.
U.S. stocks finished little changed on Friday.
In the corporate sector on Monday, shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) rose 1.3% in premarket trade as the stock flirted with $500 a share.
Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) picked up 4.8% ahead of the open after Standard & Poor's said it will be added to the S&P 500 index, replacing BMC Software Inc. (BMC).
Shares of Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) gained 3.5% in premarket action after the cell-tower company said it plans to obtain real-estate investment trust status by early next year, a move that will provide tax advantages.
In other financial markets, European stocks moved lower, while oil prices slipped and metals traded mixed. The dollar was slightly lower.
-Sara Sjolin; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
09-09-13 0835ETCopyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
|UPDATE: Stock futures rise after encouraging data (2013/11/27)|
|UPDATE: Stock futures rise after retail sales, inflation data (2013/11/20)|
|UPDATE: Stock futures rise after Chinese, euro-zone data (2013/8/22)|
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|UPDATE: Stock futures rise after jobless-claims drop (2013/11/21)|
|UPDATE: Stock futures rise amid Asia boost; Syria in focus (2013/9/9)|
|UPDATE: Stock futures slip after sentiment data, taper talk (2013/11/12)|
|UPDATE: Stock futures rise as jobs data supports Fed (2013/10/22)|
|Stock futures rise after Chinese, euro-zone data ()|
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