December 3, 2012 / 12:35 PM / in 5 years

US STOCKS-China data lifts futures, fiscal cliff concern lingers

* ISM manufacturing, construction spending data on tap

* Delta among suitors for Virgin Atlantic stake- sources

* Futures up: Dow 40 pts, S&P 4.3 pts, Nasdaq 14 pts

NEW YORK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday on upbeat factory data from China, but concerns over budget dealings in Washington are expected to keep traders cautious.

* China’s economy picked up in November even as a broader global recovery remains fragile, with factory activity patchy elsewhere in Asia as demand from the developed world remains depressed.

* Markets have focused for weeks on negotiations in Washington over some $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to kick in next year that could tip the U.S. economy back into recession.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pushed Republicans on Sunday to offer specific ideas to cut the deficit, and predicted that they would agree to raise tax rates on the rich to obtain a year-end deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

* S&P 500 futures rose 4.3 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 rose 40 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 14 points.

* The S&P 500 on Friday closed its fifth positive month in six and is up 8 percent since the end of May.

* Greece said it would spend 10 billion euros to buy back bonds in a bid to reduce its ballooning debt and unfreeze long-delayed aid, setting a price range above market expectations to ensure sufficient investor interest. The buyback is central to the efforts of Greece’s foreign lenders to put the near-bankrupt country’s debt back on a sustainable footing.

* The Institute for Supply Management releases its November manufacturing index at 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 51.3 for the main index versus 51.7 in October.

* Also at 10 a.m. ET, the Commerce Department releases October construction spending data. Economists forecast a rise of 0.5 percent compared with a 0.6 percent rise in September.

* Singapore Airlines said it was in talks with interested parties to sell its 49 percent stake in British carrier Virgin Atlantic, with sources revealing that Delta Air Lines was among the potential suitors.

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