Stock Futures Signal Higher Open on US Markets

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(REUTERS) -- Stock index futures pointed to a rise in U.S. equities on Tuesday after the market opens following the Presidents Day holiday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 rising 0.4-0.5 percent.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will release its Chicago Fed National Activity Index for January at 1330 GMT.

AES Corp (AES), the first U.S. power producer to enter China about two decades ago, is looking to sell all or some assets there, said three sources familiar with the process, hobbled by not being able to pass on higher coal costs in a state-regulated industry.

Dutch group TNT Express (TNTE), which has rejected a 4.9 billion euro ($6.5 billion) takeover offer from United Parcel Service (UPS), is to focus on its European business and look for buyers or partners for troubled units in Brazil and China. Investors are betting UPS will raise its offer or that rival FedEx (FDX) could enter the fray.

Pharmaceuticals group Pfizer (PFE) is exploring partnerships with more Chinese drug companies as it pushes ahead with plans to sell more off-patent drugs in the Chinese market, after clinching a deal with a Shanghai-listed drugmaker.

Apple (AAPL) has signed with China Telecom (0728.HK) to sell its iPhone in China from next month as it looks to boost its flagging share of the world's biggest mobile phone market.

U.S. engineer URS Corp (URS) will buy Canadian oilfield services company Flint Energy Services (FES.TO) for C$1.25 billion ($1.25 billion, to expand its presence in the oil and gas sector.

Major companies announcing results include Wal-Mart (WMT), Kraft Foods (KFT), Home Depot (HD) and Dell (DELL).

A court in Ecuador has rejected an order by arbitrators that an $18 billion pollution ruling against Chevron (CVX) should be frozen, but the judges referred an appeal by the U.S. oil company to the country's Supreme Court.

France asked the European Commission on Monday to suspend authorization to plant Monsanto's (MON) genetically modified MON810 corn, the environment ministry said, as the country seeks to keep a ban on GM crops despite losing court rulings.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) said Monday it was taking a controlling stake in Chinese e-commerce firm Yihaodian, as the world's largest retailer seeks new revenue sources to fend off rising competition in the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Designer apparel and accessories company Michael Kors Holdings (KORS) plans to open 100 stores in the greater China region in the next 3-5 years to tap the burgeoning market for luxury goods, the South China Morning Post reported.

Futures exchange operator CME Group (CME) and an Omani sovereign fund boosted their stake in the Dubai Mercantile Exchange after a cash infusion on Tuesday, diluting positions held by oil majors and the ruler of Dubai's investment vehicle.

European shares steadied on Tuesday after hitting seven-month highs on Monday, with strategists saying the focus would now turn to the bleak outlook for Greece's economy after the country secured a bailout package.

Euro zone finance ministers sealed a 130 billion euro ($172 billion) bailout for Greece to avert a default in March after persuading private bondholders to take greater losses and the Greek government to commit to deep cuts.

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 45.56 points, or 0.35 percent, to 12,949.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 3.17 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,361.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 8.07 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,951.78.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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