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US STOCKS-Futures rise, set to extend rally

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Mar 06, 2013 12:30 hrs

NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday ahead of data on the labor market and looked set to extend recent gains after the Dow set a new record a day earlier.

* Signs of a strengthening U.S. economy, continued support from the Federal Reserve, and fairly attractive valuations compared with other assets have helped U.S. equities rally this year.

* On Tuesday, the Dow ended at 14,253.77, breaking through October 2007's record close of 14,164.53. For the year, the Dow is up more than 8 percent.

* Overnight in Europe, stock markets rose to their highest since the 2008 financial crisis. The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are all expected to stick to ultra-easy monetary policy at meetings this week.

* U.S. data due at 8:15 a.m. ET (1315 GMT) is expected to show the private sector added 170,000 jobs last month. Investors will also get a look at factory orders at 10:00 a.m. ET, which are expected to have pulled back in January.

* Later in the afternoon, the Fed will release its Beige Book of economic conditions.

* S&P 500 futures rose 5.6 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 gained 51 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.5 points.

* EU antitrust regulators fined Microsoft 561 million euros ($731 million) for breaking a promise to offer European consumers a choice of web browser.

* Smith & Wesson Holding Corp posted its biggest quarterly revenue and raised its full-year sales outlook for the third time as buyers stocked up on firearms before tighter gun control laws come into force.




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