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Pre-Market Primer: Chinese Manufacturing Gains Lift Stocks

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And the eurozone is contracting by less.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Positive manufacturing data from China lifted stocks today while the fiscal cliff negotiations in Congress drag on.

Index futures are pointing toward a slightly higher opening. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.44% at 13,065.00. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.49% to 1,421.40, and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed 0.67% to 2,693.75.

China's manufacturing PMI showed growth for the first time in over a year last month, according to HSBC. The index rose to 50.5 from 49.5. (Readings over 50 signal expansion of the sector.) The government's official PMI was slightly higher at 50.6. Manufacturing input prices are rising, however.

The same indicator for the eurozone says that the region is improving, but still far from recovery. Manufacturing PMI rose to 46.2, the narrowest contraction in eight months.

US Manufacturing PMI, which is due out later this morning, is expected to show that the sector's expansion revved up last month to 52.1 from 51.0. The Institute for Supply Mangagement's manufacturing index is slated to show that manufacturing grew steadily at 51.7. Also on tap for this morning is construction spending data for October. Economists estimate that the dollar value of new construction activity grew by 0.4%, a narrower expansion than September's 0.6%.

Japan is in danger of recession, but there are signs that third quarter GDP, which was reported as a 0.9% contraction last month, might be revised up. Capital spending by companies, excluding software, rose more than expected in the third quarter, exceeding the year-earlier period by 2.4%.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is again shelving plans for checking account fees, avoiding a repeat of last year's protests and marketing debacles. The proposed fees could affect about 10 million customers.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) is in discussions with Virgin Atlantic to buy a 49% stake currently held by Singapore Airlines. Delta envies Virgin's lucrative takeoff and landing spots at London's Heathrow Airport, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) advanced by 5.6% this morning on the heels of a buy recommendation from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares fell 1.33% after a Mexican court ruled that the Internet portal will have to pay $2.7 billion to Worldwide Directories SA and Ideas Interactive SA due to a breach of contract related to a directory listings service.

With a month to go before automatic tax hikes and spending cuts kick in, Democrats and Republicans are letting talks to avert them carry on.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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