U.S. stock index futures point to slightly lower start

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 29, 2012 08:30 hrs

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 , the Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 all down 0.1 percent at 0808 GMT.

* Japanese shares edged higher, with Renesas Electronics Corp surging 35 percent after sources said U.S. private equity fund KKR & Co plans to invest around $1.3 billion in the struggling chipmaker.

* European shares fell slightly as traders cited worries over the weak global economic outlook and nervousness ahead of a key gathering of central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week.

* Volume was thin as investors were unwilling to build positions before speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke on Friday, in which he is expected to give clues on the possibility of further stimulus measures.

* The U.S. Commerce Department releases its second Q2 GDP estimate at 1230 GMT. The reading is expected to show a 1.7 percent annualized pace of growth compared with a 1.5 percent rate in the first Q2 estimate, published in July.

* The U.S. National Association of Realtors issues pending home sales for July at 1400 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 1.0 percent rise compared with a 1.4 percent fall in the previous month.

* The Federal Reserve is due to publish Beige Book of regional economic conditions at 1800 GMT.

* Disney's ESPN sports network agreed to pay Major League Baseball $5.6 billion over eight years for a package of television and digital rights through the 2021 season, a deal that reflects the strong demand for live sports content.

* Heinz, the world's largest ketchup maker, posts first-quarter results, which it already said rose more than it had expected. Consensus expects earnings per share of $0.80, from $0.78 in the year-ago quarter.

* An injunction banning No. 2 U.S. oil company Chevron Corp and its drilling contractor Transocean Ltd from operating in Brazil was upheld by a panel of three Brazilian federal judges on Tuesday while charges over a November oil spill are being considered.

* Ford's CEO Alan Mulally speaks at a groundbreaking for a Ford plant in Hangzhou, China. Ford poured $760 million into the new factory, which is a key part of the automaker's push to double production capacity in the country by 2015.

* General Motors Co plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to expand car and component production in Russia, one of the fastest-growing auto markets in the world, its head of international operations Tim Lee said.

* A U.S. judge on Tuesday set a Dec. 6 court date to hear Apple Inc's request for a permanent injunction against Samsung Electronics' 005930.KS smartphones, which could delay the potential impact of Apple's crushing legal victory.

* WellPoint Inc Chief Executive Angela Braly abruptly stepped down from her post on Tuesday following growing investor dissatisfaction with the health insurer's financial performance. Shares in the company rose more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.

* Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc have agreed to give an arbitrator additional time to evaluate the price tag for their Morgan Stanley Smith Barney brokerage joint venture, the banks said on Tuesday.

* Hurricane Isaac surged ashore in southern Louisiana on Tuesday, packing high winds and heavy rains, and was set to hit New Orleans seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

* The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 21.68 points, or 0.17 percent, at 13,102.99 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 1.14 points, or 0.08 percent, at 1,409.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 3.95 points, or 0.13 percent, at 3,077.14.

* The S&P 500 has been unable to muster a move of at least 1 percent in either direction since Aug. 3. It found support at 1,400 while it was also unable to convincingly pierce the April high of 1,422.38, which has acted as resistance.

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