NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures headed higher Monday with investors getting a peek into the health of the U.S. manufacturing sector.
Dow Jones industrial futures rose 34 points to 13,846. The broader S&P futures added 4 points to 1,499.70. Nasdaq futures gained 4.25 points to 2,732.25.
U.S. companies placed more orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in December, a good sign for the economy heading into 2013.
Orders for durable goods increased 4.6 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday, driven by a 10 percent gain in aircraft orders.
A core category that measures business investment plans rose just 0.2 percent, however, after two strong months of gains.
Also on Monday, Caterpillar beat Wall Street expectations when the purchase of a new purchase in China is discounted.
Shares of the manufacturer rose more than 2 percent in premarket trading.
Still, the company remains cautious about this year because the global economic picture remains clouded.
For this year, Caterpillar expects revenue of $60 billion to $68 billion and a profit of $7 to $9 per share.
That is a wide-margin for an outlook, and Caterpillar cited the high level of uncertainty for markets.
Growth in China will improve, but not get back to the levels seen in 2010 or 2011, the company said.
Caterpillar Inc. makes construction and mining equipment as well as power generators, so its growth rises and falls with the world's economy.