* Fed seen sticking to stimulus as Cyprus rekindles global
* Cyprus leaders make efforts to avert crisis after
rejecting EU bailout
* FOMC to issue statement, Bernanke news conference on tap
* Futures up: S&P 8 pts; Dow 54 pts; Nasdaq 76 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose
on Wednesday as the focus shifted from concerns about Cyprus's
financial health to the statement from the Federal Reserve's
policy committee and news conference by Chairman Ben Bernanke
later in the day.
The Federal Reserve looks set to sustain its $85 billion
monthly bond-buying stimulus despite improving U.S. economic
data as a new flare-up in the euro zone crisis from Cyprus's
troubles reminds officials of a risky global environment.
The Fed will release the FOMC statement and the Summary of
Economic Projections at 2:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT). Bernanke's news
conference is due around 2:30 p.m.
"The market will try really hard to read between the lines,
especially after the last one, to see if there are any changes
in the Fed's stance," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of
Sarhan Capital in New York.
"Fundamentals are improving but we are still not at the
critical level where the economy and the stock market can grow
organically. So the market reaction, if there are any changes,
could be big."
Cypriot leaders held crisis talks on Wednesday to avert
financial meltdown after the Cypriot parliament rejected the
terms of a European Union bailout, throwing efforts to rescue
the latest casualty of the euro zone debt crisis into disarray.
FedEx Corp reported a 31 percent drop in quarterly
profit due to restructuring costs and weakness in its air
freight express business. The stock was off 3.4 percent in
JPMorgan Chase & Co has reached a $546 million
settlement with the trustee liquidating the failed broker-dealer
unit of MF Global Holdings, a court filing showed
A key U.S. bank regulator has called for improvement in the
management of JPMorgan Chase on concerns linked to the
multi-billion dollar "London Whale" trading loss last year, the
Wall Street Journal reported, citing knowledgeable sources.
European Union lawmakers are expected to agree on Wednesday
to bar bankers in Europe from getting bonuses bigger than their
salary, introducing the first cap of its kind globally.
S&P 500 futures added 8 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 54
points and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 76 points.
Roche Holding and a buyout group comprising KKR &
Co LP and Hellman & Friedman LLC have joined the bidding
for Life Technologies Corp, a genetic testing company
coveted for its advanced diagnostics and steady cash flow,
according to people familiar with the matter.
General Mills, the U.S. maker of Yoplait yogurt,
Cheerios cereal and Progresso soups, reported a higher quarterly
profit on Wednesday, helped by the recent acquisitions of Yoki
Alimentos in Brazil and Yoplait Canada. The stock was down 0.3
percent in premarket trade.