Futures on the S&P 500 hit their highest level in more than a month on Wednesday as investors bet the upcoming earnings season and more merger activity will continue to lift equities higher.
* The S&P 500 struggled on Tuesday and Wednesday to close above a key resistance level at 1,333, but futures pointed to a pop at the open that could bring more buyers on expectations of a breakout.
* Broadcom Corp
* S&P 500 futures rose 8.1 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 74 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 20 points.
* The euro rose to a 14-month high against the dollar, ahead of an expected interest rate rise by the European Central Bank. Traders also cited buying by Asian central banks.
* Gold prices rallied to record highs against a backdrop of a weaker dollar and investor worries over inflation and unrest in the Arab world, while silver touched fresh 31-year peaks.
* With time running short, U.S. President Barack Obama was faced with a deadlock in budget talks between fellow Democrats and Republicans that threatens a partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
* On Tuesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX>, Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> and Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> ended little changed.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)