* 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 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
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
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
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.