U.S. stock index futures signal higher open

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 07, 2013 10:10 hrs

PARIS, March 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.16 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.18 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.28 percent at 0948 GMT.

* European shares edged up and the euro hovered near three-month lows against the dollar on expectations the European Central Bank could point to future policy easing following its rate-setting meeting on Thursday.

* The ECB is expected to hold its interest rates at a record low of 0.75 percent, and investors will be seeking clues about whether the euro zone's central bank is moving towards another cut in rates.

* Despite the efforts of the U.S. Federal Reserve to use easy monetary policy to boost jobs, the country's economy is stuck in "neutral" more than three years after the end of the recession, a top Fed official said on Wednesday.

* Johnson Controls Inc is exploring a potential sale of its automotive electronics business, but has no "current intention" to sell its automotive interiors unit, the company said on Wednesday.

* U.S. retailer Costco Wholesale Corp posted a 6 percent rise in comparable sales in February, beating Wall Street expectations, helped by higher fuel prices.

* Activist investor Carl Icahn has built a stake of around 100 million shares in Dell Inc and wants the personal computer maker to conduct a leveraged recapitalization, complicating founder Michael Dell's effort to take the company private, CNBC reported.

* Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, the largest shareholder of Tiffany & Co, further raised its stake in the U.S. luxury jeweler to 11.27 percent, according to a regulatory filing.

* Time Warner Inc will soon be without the magazine unit that provided the foundation for the company and the first part of its name.

* On the macro side, investors are awaiting international trade data for January, due at 1330 GMT, weekly jobless claims, also at 1330 GMT, as well as productivity figures for the fourth quarter, also due at 1330 GMT.

* Wall Street mostly edged higher on Wednesday, with the Dow hitting another record, helped by a private payroll survey that bodes well for the monthly jobs report due at the week's end.

* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 42.47 points, or 0.30 percent, to 14,296.24, another record closing high. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index edged up 1.67 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,541.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 1.77 points, or 0.05 percent, to close at 3,222.36.

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