* Manufacturing data seen showing strong expansion
* Exxon profit down but results beat estimates
* Futures up: Dow 63 pts, S&P 6.4 pts; Nasdaq 4.5 pts
* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US] (Updates, adds Exxon results)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Monday after three weeks of losses as investors bet data will show signs the U.S. economy continued to mend and on stronger-than-expected results from energy bellwether Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N).
Exxon’s shares rose 1.9 percent to $65.64 premarket after the largest U.S. oil company beat earnings expectations despite a 23 percent drop in profits. For details see [ID:nN01189745]
The Institute for Supply Management’s January manufacturing index and December construction spending are due later in the morning, with expectations manufacturing expanded at its fastest pace in nearly four years, following strong data from China, Australia and the euro zone. [ID:nLDE6100W3]
“There is expectation of a (market) bounce, driven by continued positive economic data,” said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in North Brunswick, New Jersey.
S&P 500 SPc1 futures rose 6.4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average DJc1 futures gained 63 points, and Nasdaq 100 NDc1 futures added 4.5 points.
Meanwhile, a top European Union official said Greece’s fiscal cutback plans were ambitious but achievable, relieving anxiety that drove investors away from risky assets, including stocks, in recent weeks. [ID:nLDE6100QW]
U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled a budget that projected the 2010 deficit soaring to a post-World War Two high of $1.56 trillion, or 10.6 percent of the economy, but falling to half that level by the time his term ends in 2012. [ID:nN30164446]
“I think there is going to have to be a significant bipartisan agreement on how spending and deficits get reined in, and unless that happens it’s going to eventually hurt the market,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Stock futures had a muted reaction to data showing U.S. consumer spending rose slightly less than expected in December as households opted to sock away extra cash, lifting savings to a six-month high. [ID:nN2999450]
U.S. stocks dropped on Friday, as worries about fiscal turmoil in Europe and a drop in technology issues pushed the S&P 500 to its worst monthly decline since February 2009. (Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)