U.S. stock index futures signal early gains

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 25, 2012 10:00 hrs

PARIS, Oct 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, after slipping a day earlier, with signs of an economic recovery in China lifting sentiment.

* Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.59 percent, Dow Jones futures were 0.49 percent higher and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.64 percent at 0930 GMT.

* European stocks rallied on Thursday led by miners after China said factory output was set to accelerate, but profit warnings hit major companies such as WPP and Daimler .

* Investors awaited results from a number of major companies on Thursday, including Apple, Amazon, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Colgate-Palmolive, ConocoPhillips, Procter & Gamble and Sprint Nextel.

* On the macro front, investors awaited U.S. durable goods data due at 1230 GMT, weekly jobless claims at 1230 GMT, and pending home sales at 1400 GMT.

* Food stocks will be in focus after global consumer goods group Unilever beat expectations with a 5.9 percent rise in underlying quarterly sales thanks to strong demand from emerging markets.

* Advertising companies will also be in the spotlight after WPP, the world's largest advertising group, cut its revenue outlook for the second time in as many months after a sharp slowdown in September in North America and Continental Europe hit its third quarter.

* Symantec Corp reported results ahead of Wall Street expectations as its new chief executive took direct control of the company's sales force as part of an effort to turn around the maker of security software.

* U.S. asset manager AllianceBernstein Holding LP reported third-quarter profit on Wednesday that beat analysts' estimates and said net revenue rose 10 percent as outflows from its investment products slowed considerably from year-ago levels.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc has reorganized its compliance department and hired a global chief compliance officer as the world's largest retailer deals with a bribery scandal at its Mexico unit.

* South Korea's Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of smartphones, infringed Apple patents to make its smartphones and tablets, a U.S. trade panel judge said in a preliminary decision issued on Wednesday.

* Brokerage and investment bank Raymond James Financial Inc. said on Wednesday its quarterly profit rose 21 percent, boosted by a beneficial tax rate.

* Zynga Inc raised the lower end of its 2012 earnings outlook after quarterly revenue beat Wall Street's rock-bottom expectations, driving its shares 13 percent higher.

* Crocs Inc said weakness in Europe hurt its third-quarter revenue, and the shoemaker forecast fourth-quarter results below analysts' expectations, sending its shares down 5 percent after market.

* Apartment owner Equity Residential said a key earnings measure rose 20.4 percent in the third quarter, meeting its own forecast but missing Wall Street expectations despite being able to push up rents.

* Ocwen Financial Corp and Walter Investment Management Corp on Wednesday prevailed in a bankruptcy auction for Residential Capital LLC's mortgage business with a $3 billion bid that topped rival Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc.

* Ford will announce on Thursday that it is closing its van factory at Southampton, ending more than a century of vehicle production by the company in Britain, trade unionists and a source close to the U.S. car maker said.

* General Motors Co plans to have talks to buy a stake in its South Korean unit from the unit's second-biggest shareholder, Korea Development Bank(KDB), the head of GM Korea said on Thursday.

* Russia's third-largest crude producer TNK-BP, in the process of being bought in a $55 billion takeover by Rosneft , said on Thursday it signed a contract with Schlumberger to develop 'tight oil' reserves in Siberia.

* U.S. stocks ended lower for a second day on Wednesday, as investors soured on another round of underwhelming corporate results and the Federal Reserve said it would stick to its stimulus plan until the job market improves.

* The Dow Jones industrial average shed 25.19 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 13,077.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 4.36 points, or 0.31 percent, to 1,408.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 8.77 points, or 0.29 percent, to end at 2,981.70.

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