More economic data is to be released today, including a report by the Commerce Department on November factory orders due at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Consensus estimates call for a 0.1% rise for the month, according to Briefing.com. At about the same time the National Association of Realtors will release data on existing home sales for November. Expectations are that sales slipped 2% in the month, following a 3.7% rise in October.
Auto manufacturers are also due to report December sales figures, starting with Ford Motor (F) at about midday. The data is expected to show that the industry benefited from a late surge in consumer interest in the final week of December, as General Motors announced a plan to offload discontinued Pontiac and Saturn models.
Oil prices continued their steady climb higher for the ninth straight day heading steadily toward $82 a barrel. Prices are being driven in part by a vast cold front that has overtaken the eastern United States.
In foreign markets, shares in Asia rose Tuesday, with Japan's Nikkei index up 0.3%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng picked up 2.1%. In Europe, the U.K. FTSE, France's CAC and Germany's DAX were all higher in midday trading.
Kraft Foods (KFT) sweetened its bid for Cadbury (CBY), which the British chocolate company promptly turned down, calling Kraft's latest offer "derisory," according to CNN. Nestlé, thought to be considering its own bid for Cadbury, has pulled itself out of the running, saying an offer isn't forthcoming.
Google (GOOG) is expected to unveil its highly anticipated smart phone Tuesday to compete against Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and others within an increasingly crowded marketplace. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to release a new tablet device later this month, which some speculate could cost less than $1,000.