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US stock futures rise ahead of manufacturing data

In a photo made April 16, 2012, trader Robert Arciero works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street appeared headed for a higher opening Tuesday May 1, 2012 with Dow Jones industrial futures 0.1 percent higher and S&P 500 futures 0.1 percent. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock market futures were modestly higher Tuesday as automakers began reporting April sales data, and ahead of reports on the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.10 percent to 13,168. Standard & Poor's 500 futures were up 0.04 percent to 1,394.20. Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.06 percent to 2,721.

Chrysler said that its U.S. sales rose 20 percent in April, another sign of a strong turnaround for the automaker. The results exceeded expectations.

Overall, industry watchers expect industry-wide sales to rise 2 percent compared with April 2011, with small and midsize cars leading the way as consumer remain wary of buying gas guzzlers due as gas prices remain high.

U.S. builders likely stepped up spending on construction projects in March following two months of declines. The Commerce Department will release construction spending data at 10 a.m. Eastern.

At the same time, the Institute for Supply Management is slated to release its manufacturing index for April. Economists are expecting to see a modest slowdown compared with March, due to sluggish business investment and modest consumer spending, but the index is expected to continue to indicate expansion.

Most European and Asian markets were closed for the May Day holiday.

Britain's FTSE was down 0.68 percent to 5,737, weighed by BP PLC's report that first-quarter profit dropped 18 percent. BP's U.S.-traded shares were down about 2 percent in premarket trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average slid 1.8 percent to close at 9,350.95, hurt by the dollar's rise against the yen.

Markets in China, South Korea, India, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia were among those closed for public holidays.

U.S. stocks to watch include Pfizer Inc., which reported a 19 percent profit decline as generic competition cut into sales. Shared edged down less than 1 percent premarket.

Sears Holdings Corp. said it expects to post a first-quarter profit, reversing a year-ago loss, sending the stock up almost 7 percent in premarket trading.

And Avon Products Inc. was off about 2.6 percent 30 minutes ahead of the market opening, after the beauty products company reported an 82 percent plunge in its first-quarter profit.