Stock index futures rose on Wednesday on par with global stocks as a renewed promise of extended low interest rates from the Federal Reserve enticed investors into riskier assets.

Crude oil prices rose nearly 1 percent to $82.33 a barrel, supported by a weaker U.S. dollar and an industry report that showed a steep fall in U.S. gasoline stockpiles.

Continued low interest rates have left us with nothing but short-term buyers, said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in New York. There's very little new bad news.

Investors awaited economic data in the form of February's producer price index, due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Month over month, seasonally-adjusted prices are expected to fall 0.2 percent.

S&P 500 futures rose 2.9 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 29 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc dropped about 1 percent in premarket trade as the company announced a plan on Tuesday to repay the U.S. Treasury.

Discover Financial Services , the sixth-largest U.S. credit card issuer, also said Tuesday it received regulatory approval to pay back $1.2 billion in taxpayer bailout funds and posted a quarterly loss.

U.S. office products retailer Staples Inc offered to buy out minority shareholders of Corporate Express Australia for A$390 million in a deal long-awaited since Staples took over the group's Dutch parent.

GMAC's Residential Capital unit is attracting early buyer interest from companies including BlackRock Inc and Blackstone Group , but a deal for the troubled mortgage lender will be difficult to pull off, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Simon Property Group Inc is weighing a higher bid for General Growth Properties Inc after the No. 2 U.S. mall owner came up with a rival plan to emerge from bankruptcy as a stand-alone company, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will defend the central bank's supervision of smaller banks on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal said, in a hearing before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Chinese firms selling advertising space on Google Inc's search pages have demanded clarity about the Internet company's plans, warning they will demand compensation if Google shuts its Chinese portal.

Implanted devices from Boston Scientific Corp helped patients with early heart failure in a study, but the benefits may be less significant in the marketplace, U.S. regulators said in documents released on Tuesday.

Pfizer Inc
on Wednesday will place an offer in the final round of bids for German generic drug maker Ratiopharm, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters.

Dubai World will offer banks a single proposal to repay in full the $26 billion debt it is renegotiating, with interest likely linked to Libor, Al Arabiya reported on Wednesday.

The Nikkei average hit an eight-week closing high on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan eased policy in a move seen by many as an attempt to prevent the yen from rising, while European stocks were up in morning trade, led higher by banking shares.

U.S. stocks rose to a fresh 17-month high on Tuesday after the Fed held benchmark rates near zero and maintained its pledge to keep them low for an extended period.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)