Before the bell: U.S. stocks were poised to open higher Tuesday, as Japan's pledge to buy eurozone bonds eased jitters.
Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were up ahead of the opening bell. Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance.
On Monday, stocks ended just below breakeven, following a sell-off in European markets as investors worried about a possible bailout for Portugal.
Tuesday's light economic schedule could lead markets to snap those losses and drift higher as investors hunt for bargains, said Bruce McCain, chief market strategist at Key Private Bank.
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"With a lack of economic statistics out today there's not a whole lot to worry about, so that may give little assurance to those inclined to buy, and give a lift to the market," said McCain.
"But the market is pretty extended in terms of investor sentiment and in terms of having made a strong run, so it needs to pull back at some point and digest the gains it has made," he added.
World markets: European stocks rose in morning trading, amid reports Japan will buy eurozone bonds to help prevent the spread of the region's debt crisis.
"The debt crisis is a lot of what was weighing on the market yesterday, so some of these fears seem overblown as investors look at Japan's entry," said McCain. "Certainly there's a lot of buying power in Japan, so if they are seriously willing to help Europe by buying up some of those bonds, that will limit -- to a degree -- the downside the sovereign debt crisis poses."
Britain's FTSE 100 jumped 1.2%, the DAX in Germany gained 0.8% and France's CAC 40 climbed 1%.
Asian markets ended the session mixed. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.4% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1%, while Japan's Nikkei edged down 0.3%.
Economy: The Commerce Department releases its wholesale inventories report before the bell. Inventories are expected to have risen 1.0% in November, after jumping 1.9% in October.