September 10, 2013 / 1:21 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St to open higher on China data, waning Syria fears

4 Min Read

* Syria fears ease on possible diplomatic solution

* China data points to stabilizing economy

* Goldman Sachs, Visa, Nike to be added to Dow Industrials

* McDonald's reports August sales, shares rise

* Futures up: Dow 79 pts, S&P 9.9 pts, Nasdaq 19 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised to open higher Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a sixth day of gains, following further upbeat economic data from China and as an alternative solution emerged to a possible 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.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki said his country supported a Russian proposal for Damascus to give up chemical weapons to avoid a possible U.S. military strike.

"Certainly there was the potential for escalation, which was the market's primary concern, and that seemed to be the issue out there," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.

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

"Another good China-data day and that has certainly been helping," Ghriskey said.

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

However, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would press ahead with his plan to ask Congress to approve the use of military force in Syria, despite Syria's recent acceptance of the Russian proposal.

Oil prices pulled back, with U.S. crude off 2.1 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 9.9 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 79 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 19 points.

S&P Dow Jones Indices said Goldman Sachs Group Inc will replace Bank of American Corp, Visa Inc will replace Hewlett-Packard Co and Nike Inc will replace Alcoa Inc in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the close of trading Sept. 20.

Goldman shares rose 2.2 percent to $163, Visa gained 2.1 percent to $182.33 and Nike advanced 1.8 percent to $66.55 in premarket trading, while Alcoa lost 1.2 percent to $7.98, Bank of America added 0.3 percent to $14.52 and Hewlett-Packard shed 0.9 percent to $22.15.

McDonald's Corp gained 0.9 percent to $97.31 in premarket trading after the fast-food restaurant chain reported a better-than-expected 1.9 percent increase in global sales at established restaurants in August.

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.

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