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US stock futures move higher on last day of 2013

Stock futures higher on last trading day of 2013; Dow poised to close out best year since 1995

US stock futures move higher on last day of 2013

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures are heading higher on the last day of trading for 2013 as investors close out their positions on a banner year.

There are a handful of economic reports to work through Tuesday and trading is expected to be thin.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 33 points to 16,472 with about 15 minutes left before the opening bell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures have gained 3.5 points to 1,838 and the Nasdaq futures are up 5.25 points to 3,571.

CLOSING OUT A STELLAR YEAR: Stock investors were rewarded in 2013 with their best year since the mid-1990s. The S&P 500 is on pace to close up 29 percent for the year, or 32 percent when dividends are included. The Dow is up 26 percent for 2013, and up 29 percent with dividends -- the index's best year since 1995.

LOW VOLUME: Unlike most overseas markets, U.S. exchanges will be open for a full day of trading Tuesday. While there may be some last minute buying and selling to polish off their books, most investors have closed out their positions for 2013. Volume has been 40 percent lower than average during the last five trading days.

LAST ECONOMIC REPORTS OF 2013: The private Conference Board will release its December consumer confidence report at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT). Economists expect a reading of 76, up from 70.4 in November. Consumers' confidence is closely watched because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. The confidence reading remains well below 90, which would suggest a healthy economy. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index is expected to show home prices rose 13 percent from a year ago.

U.S. MARKETS CLOSED TOMORROW: Both the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq Stock Market, as well as the bond and commodities markets will be closed for trading on New Year's Day. The first day of trading for 2014 will be Thursday, however volume is not expected to pick up until next week.