U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday on gains in commodity prices and an upswing in merger and acquisition activity as investors awaited a batch of key economic data, including consumer prices and industrial production.
* In the latest in a recent M&A flurry, Adobe Systems Inc
* M&A activity is considered a positive sign for the economy as businesses display confidence in their capital positions and begin to spend.
* Commodity prices rose, with gold hitting an 18-month high and helping to lift silver and platinum to multi-month peaks.
* Economic data scheduled for Wednesday includes consumer prices, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), and industrial output, due at 9:15 a.m. (1315 GMT).
* S&P 500 futures rose 4.30 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 added 54 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 3.25 points.
* UBS downgraded Verizon Communications Inc
* Genworth Financial Inc
* Oracle Corp
* European shares rose Wednesday, with the main FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> hitting the 1,000 mark for the first time since October 2008, boosted by stronger banking and commodity stocks.
* Asian shares hit their highest levels for 2009 on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. economic news gave riskier assets that are leveraged to global growth a boost, while the U.S. dollar slipped to a one-year low.
* U.S. stocks rose to 2009 highs on Tuesday after stronger manufacturing and retail sales data boosted commodity prices and shares of materials companies.
* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 56.61 points, or 0.59 percent, to close at 9,683.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 3.29 points, or 0.31 percent, to 1,052.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 10.86 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,102.64.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)