U.S. stock index futures signal early gains

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 10:50 hrs

PARIS, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Tuesday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.18 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.18 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.23 percent at 1025 GMT.

* European shares gained ground on Tuesday morning, helped by data showing German investor confidence unexpectedly rose in December after a sharp fall in the previous month, with Italian shares recovering from the previous day's selloff sparked by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's announcement that he plans to resign.

* Monti said on Tuesday he still wanted to influence political debate in whatever role he fills after elections next year, leaving his political future open following speculation he may remain in politics.

* Texas Instruments Inc will be in focus after slightly raising its profit target, excluding a massive restructuring charge, as the company is cutting costs due to macro-economic uncertainties.

* Intel presented new manufacturing technology that it said keeps it on track to launch a new generation of chips for smartphones and tablets as it rushes to catch up with Qualcomm and other rivals in the fast-growing mobile market.

* Industrial machinery maker SPX Corp is in exclusive talks to buy rival Gardner Denver Inc and hopes to finalize a deal by the end of the year, four people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

* Contract manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd said it agreed to take over Motorola Mobility's manufacturing operations in Tianjin, China and Jaguariuna, Brazil.

* Morgan Stanley might seek approval from the Federal Reserve to repurchase shares for the first time in four years, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the firm's thinking.

* A group of Chinese companies, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), is in talks to buy nearly all of American International Group Inc's aircraft leasing unit for about $5.5 billion, AIG said on Friday.

* On the macro front, investors awaited U.S. international trade for October, due at 1330 GMT, the consumer confidence index, due at 1500 GMT, as well as wholesale inventories, due at 1500 GMT.

* U.S. stocks edged higher on Monday as technology shares bounced back after recent weakness and McDonald's posted strong monthly sales.

* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.75 points, or 0.11 percent, to 13,169.88 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up just 0.48 of a point, or 0.03 percent, to 1,418.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 8.92 points, or 0.30 percent, to close at 2,986.96.

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