U.S. stock index futures point to fresh peaks

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Mar 06, 2013 10:00 hrs

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to fresh gains on Wall Street on Wednesday, after the previous session's stellar run which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average scale record highs.

Futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 were all up around 0.4 percent by 0930 GMT.

* Investors will look to the February ADP private sector employment report at 1315 GMT for clues on the likely outcome of Friday's keenly watched non-farm payrolls report.

* The macro calendar also features January durable goods and factory orders figures at 1500 GMT, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book of economic conditions at 1900 GMT and a speech by Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser.

* The results schedule is relatively light, with the earnings season almost over - some 92 percent of S&P 500 companies have already reported 2012 results, on average beating earnings expectations by 0.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.

* Retailer PetSmart is among the few firms reporting on Wednesday.

* European Union anti-trust regulators are set to hit Microsoft with a hefty fine on Wednesday for breaking a promise to offer consumers using its Windows system a choice of rival Internet browsers, people familiar with the case said.

* Smith & Wesson Holding Corp raised its full-year sales outlook for the third time as buyers stock up on firearms before tighter gun control laws come into force. However, the company said on it was unable to meet demand despite operating its plant at full capacity for the last four quarters. Shares turned lower in after hours trade following the company's results.

* Veriforne shares fell after the bell in reaction to quarterly earnings and 2013 guidance.

* Top U.S. railroad BNSF Railway Co, one of the largest users of diesel fuel in the United States, plans to test using natural gas to power its locomotives this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

* News Corp's education division, Amplify, has introduced the first tablet computer built specifically for the classroom, in a bid to capture a slice of the billions of dollars spent in U.S. public schools.

* The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 and Japan's Nikkei share average both scaled 4-1/2 year highs on Wednesday, taking cues from the strong Wall Street performance.

* The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 125.95 points, or 0.89 percent, to close at 14,253.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 14.59 points, or 0.96 percent, to 1,539.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 42.10 points, or 1.32 percent, to 3,224.13.

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