U.S. stock index futures pointed to a stronger start for Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq up 0.6 to 0.7 percent by 3:09 a.m. EST.

* Ahead of the open, investors will eye a Portuguese bond auction, seen as a test of the highly indebted country's ability to stave off a bailout.

* Portugal is due to sell up to 1.25 billion euros of 2014 and 2020-dated bonds, with results due at 1045 GMT

* EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, writing in the Financial Times, said finance ministers should look next week at reinforcing the effective lending capacity of the euro zone's rescue fund and making it more flexible to calm debt markets.

* Shares on Wall Street closed higher on Tuesday, as energy shares helped the Dow <.DJI> and S&P 500 <.SPX> end a three-day losing streak, even as investors worried rising fuel costs will undercut economic growth.

* Bearish bets on major U.S. exchanges declined in the second half of December, suggesting investors abandoned their positions as the market advanced.

* Looking ahead, investors will eye more company results due later in the week, including from Intel and JPMorgan Chase , for further evidence on the pace of recovery in corporate profits following forecast-beating results from aluminum giant Alcoa late on Monday.

* In company news, Chevron Corp said average U.S. output grew slightly from a subdued third-quarter, even though the second-largest U.S. oil company's domestic output remains much below what it was a year before.

* American International Group Inc accepted a $2.16 billion cash offer for its Taiwan Nan Shan Life unit from a group led by local conglomerate Ruentex, marking the beginning of the end of a drawn-out process fraught with political wrangling.

* Airbus, in a fierce battle for most sales against rival Boeing , unveiled what it called the biggest jet order in commercial aviation history with a $15.6 billion deal to sell 180 planes to Indian budget carrier IndiGo.

* Biogen Idec expects a new rival drug from Novartis AG to affect its flagship multiple sclerosis franchise, but the company's chief executive officer believes it is too early to gauge the extent of any sales erosion.

* The chief executive of Eli Lilly said a patient in ongoing trials of the company's experimental Alzheimer's disease drug solanezumab temporarily developed brain swelling, although it is not yet known whether the patient was taking the Lilly drug or a placebo.

* Alaska's main oil pipeline will resume flows overnight after operators received government permission for a temporary restart to prevent crude from freezing while a bypass of a leak that idled 12 percent of U.S. crude output is completed.

* On the economic front, weekly U.S. mortgage applications are due at 5 a.m. EST, while import and export prices for December are scheduled for 6:30 a.m. EST. December's Federal Budget is expected to be announced at 12 p.m. EST.

* The U.S. economy emerged from a soft patch last year and looks set to enter a period of faster growth, a top official at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said on Tuesday.

In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares rose in early trade, led by gains in banks.

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Hans Peters)