US STOCKS-Futures climb on China data as Syria fears ease

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 10, 2013 14:10 hrs

* Syria fears ease on possible diplomatic solution

* China data points to stabilizing economy

* McDonald's reports August sales, shares rise

* Futures up: Dow 88 pts, S&P 10.4 pts, Nasdaq 21 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures climbed on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a sixth day of gains, following another batch of rosy economic data out of China and as expectations eased about a Western military strike against Syria.

Fears of action against Syria eased after U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday he saw a possible breakthrough in the crisis with Syria after Russia proposed that its ally Damascus hands over its chemical weapons for destruction, which could avert planned U.S. military strikes.

Economic data in China showed stronger-than-expected industrial output and retail sales showed their fastest growth this year, reinforcing signs that China's economy was stabilizing after slowing for more than two years.

"We see again better Chinese economic data - it's a continuation of that story where both industrial output and retail sales continue to add to the improving outlook for the China demand story," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

"Anything that is going to forestall a strike on Syria certainly gets the risk appetite back into the marketplace."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday the European nation would put forward a U.N. Security Council draft resolution for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, quickly turning the Russian idea into a full-blown diplomatic proposal.

China said it backed the Russian proposal while British Prime Minister David Cameron said the onus was on Russia and Syria to show the chemical weapons handover proposal was genuine.

Oil prices pulled back, with U.S. crude off 1.7 percent. Crude prices rose 2.7 percent last week on worries a strike against Syria could spark a wider conflict and heightened supply concerns.

After suffering its worst monthly performance since May 2012 in August, the S&P 500 has rallied for the past five sessions for a 2.4 percent gain that marks its longest winning streak in two months.

S&P 500 futures rose 10.4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 88 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 21 points.

McDonald's Corp gained 1.1 percent to $97.50 in light premarket trade after the fast-food restaurant chain reported a better-than-expected 1.9 percent increase in global sales at established restaurants in August.

At least three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft Corp are keen for a turnaround expert to succeed Steve Ballmer as chief executive, and have urged the company's board to consider Ford Motor Co CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences Corp CEO Mike Lawrie for the job, several sources familiar with the matter said. Microsoft shares rose 0.91 percent to $31.94 in premarket trading.

Apple Inc is expected to introduce a cheaper version of the iPhone on Tuesday, bringing one of the industry's costliest smartphones within reach of the masses in poorer emerging markets. Apple shares gained 0.6 percent to $509.15 before the opening bell.

About 2,100 positions will be laid off at Bank of America Corp's mortgage business, a source told Reuters Monday, in response to weak refinancing activity.

European shares advanced and Asian stocks rose to three-month highs as expectations ebbed of U.S.-led military action against Syria, and following robust macroeconomic data out of China.

More from Sify: