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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Advance Amid Talks on Fiscal Cliff

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures rose, following yesterday’s decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as European finance ministers met to discuss moves to stem the debt crisis and U.S. leaders prepared for more budget talks.

Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, rose 6.1 percent after earnings jumped as the company profited from an increase in revenue and a net tax benefit. Baxter International Inc. gained 0.7 percent after agreeing to buy Gambro AB for about $4 billion. Geron Corp. slumped 21 percent after saying it has stopped developing a drug designed to treat brain cancers.

Futures on the benchmark S&P 500 expiring this month increased 0.1 percent to 1,409 at 8:03 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts advanced 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,967.

“The fiscal cliff is generating volatility,” said Guillaume Duchesne, an equity strategist at BGL BNP Paribas SA in Luxembourg, in a phone interview. “For the market to rise, we need to have good news regarding the fiscal cliff. It’s a concern that needs to be resolved.”

House Speaker John Boehner yesterday proposed a budget containing $2.2 trillion of spending cuts and new revenue and no higher tax rates for top-earning Americans. Republicans and Democrats must reach an agreement to prevent more than $600 billion of spending cuts and tax increases from coming into force in 2013.

Boehner, an Ohio Republican, called it a “credible plan that deserves consideration by the White House.” Obama’s administration rejected the proposal, which would raise the eligibility age for Medicare and slow cost-of-living increases for Social Security.

European Union finance ministers met in Brussels today to discuss setting up a common bank supervisor for the 17-nation currency zone. At an assembly of the euro-area governments yesterday, ministers decided to release the next 34.4 billion euros ($45 billion) of aid to Greece at a Dec. 13 meeting.

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