US STOCKS-Futures gain after 4-week rally; factory orders on tap

Mon Nov 4, 2013 8:06am EST
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* Euro zone manufacturing picks up in October

* Weyerhaeuser to sell homebuilding unit for $2.7 bln

* U.S. factory orders data on tap

* Futures up: Dow 51 pts, S&P 5.9 pts, Nasdaq 16.25 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures advanced on Monday, indicating the S&P 500 will continue to rise after four straight weeks of gains and build on its latest record high.

The benchmark S&P index has risen 4.2 percent over the past four weeks as the partial U.S. government shutdown in October pushed back expectations for the Federal Reserve to begin curtailing its stimulus measures into the first quarter of 2014.

But recent manufacturing data has come in stronger than expected, lending weight to the possibility the economy could handle an earlier-than-expected tapering of the central bank's bond-buying program.

"Given the government shutdown, conventional wisdom had tapering delayed until next year, however, given the recent data an earlier tapering is certainly on the table for December," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.   Continued...