Stock index futures rose on Wednesday after estimate-beating results from Dell and a deal for Sanofi-Aventis to buy Genzyme for $20.1 billion in cash.

* Dell Inc , the world's No. 2 personal computer maker, flew past profit and margins expectations in the latest show of strength from corporate America that has helped lift stocks. Its shares jumped 6.6 percent at $14.83 in premarket trading.

* French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA agreed to buy Genzyme Corp for a sweetened $74 a share as mergers-and-acquisitions activity continued to bring fresh cash into the market in a sign that companies are seeing value. Its share rose 1.9 percent to $75.70 premarket.

* There are a few dynamics at play, said Oliver Pursche, president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York. Number one, you've had a very strong earnings season. Number two, M&A is clearly picking up.

* In other merger news, billionaire investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Group offered to buy Family Dollar Stores Inc for $55 to $60 per share in cash, giving the company an implied value of $7.6 billion. Family Dollar jumped 25.2 percent to$55.05.

* S&P 500 futures rose 4.3 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 jumped 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.25 points.

* The FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares <.FTEU3> was up 0.3 percent after Asian stocks closed up overnight, with Japan's Nikkei <.N225> climbing to a nine-month high.

* Economists expect January U.S. producer prices to have risen by 0.8 percent overall and up 0.2 percent, excluding food and energy, according to a Reuters poll. The data, due at 8:30 a.m. EST, comes as investors grow concerned about signs of inflationary pressures.

* Some softening is expected in January industrial output, which is forecast to rise by 0.5 percent, compared with the previous month's 0.8 percent increase. The data is due at 9:15 a.m. EST.

* The release later this afternoon of minutes of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee's January meeting may show some discussion of the Fed's bond buying program being tapered off.

* U.S. stocks slipped off 2-1/2-year highs on Tuesday as U.S. retail sales data cast doubts on a rebound in consumer spending, a vital part of the economic recovery.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)