(Updated economic data schedule)
What to watch, courtesy of Yahoo! Finance's Elizabeth Trotta
U.S. futures are indicating a solidly higher open for the first trading day of 2012. Attention is on Iowa and the kickoff of the Republican GOP presidential caucus with Mitt Romney leading the polls, U.S. Rep Ron Paul in second and Rick Santorum in third.
One prediction some investors are making for 2012 is more dealmaking as a recent survey by Ernst & Young showed 36% of companies plan to pursue an acquisition this year. [Read: On Wall Street, Renewed Optimism for Deals]
Meanwhile., Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro currency. EU policymakers rang in the anniversary by urging member governments to save and consolidate to overcome their debt crisis. [Read: Crisis Talk, Austerity Calls Mark Euro Anniversary]
Elsewhere, some news from the oil sector, as Total SA signed a $2.3 billion deal with Chesapeake Energy Corp and EnerVest. [Read: Total signs $2.3B deal with Chesapeake] And BP called on contractor Halliburton to pay all expenses it incurred to clean up the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which it pegs around $42 billion. [Read: BP Sues Halliburton over $42B oil spill bill]
Investors will have an eye out for the minutes of the latest meeting of the policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve set to be released this afternoon after manufacturing and construction data this morning. Auto and truck sales are expected midweek, and the December jobs report will be released on Friday.
10 a.m. ISM Index (Expected 53.2, Prior 52.7)
10 a.m. Construction Spending (Expected 0.2%, Prior 0.5%)
2 p.m. FOMC Minutes