Indexes to open higher

December 21, 2015 10:38 AM

U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Monday, the first day of a holiday-shortened week, while Brent crude hit an 11-year low.

Trading volumes are expected to be relatively light this week, with U.S. stock markets operating a shortened session on Thursday and closing on Friday for Christmas.

Crude oil prices have been sliding under continued pressure from global oversupply and tepid demand.

"There looks to be like a little relief bounce this morning as we move into the last two weeks of the year," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"It's a fickle market. All you have to do is look at what we've done for the year and whatever you're going to see today, there's lower confidence in the direction of any move," he said.

Although the S&P 500 touched record highs in 2015, the index is down 2.6% for the year, buffeted by slowing growth in China, slump in commodities and uncertainty over U.S. interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average is down 3.9%.

The Nasdaq Composite, which briefly breached its dotcom highs this year, is the only one of the three major indexes in the black, having risen 3.9% so far in 2015.

At 8:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 116 points, or 0.68%, with 26,819 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were up 16.25 points, or 0.82%, with 164,635 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 35.5 points, or 0.79%, on volume of 27,320 contracts.

China will keep its monetary and fiscal policies "accommodative" in 2016 to help support the slowing economy, according to a Reuters report, citing a source with direct knowledge of the annual Central Economic Work Conference.

Global stocks rose, taking cues from a surge in Asian stocks as investors bought into Chinese blue-chips.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, on worries ranging from lower crude prices to the global response to the Federal Reserve's interest hike.

Disney shares were up 1.4% at $109.25 in premarket trading as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" shattered box office records with an estimated $517 million in worldwide ticket sales through Sunday.

Apple was up 1% at $107.12. The iPhone maker signed a patent-licensing deal with Swedish mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson, ending a year-long dispute.

Microsoft was up 1.1% at $54.70 after a Barron's report on Sunday that the Windows operating system maker's shares could rise 30% over the next 18 months.

Baxalta was up 2.2% at $39.27 after the drugmaker presented positive results from a study on its hemophilia treatment.

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Abhiram Nandakumar, Reuters