Stock index futures point to higher open on Wall Street

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.22 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.43 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.41 percent at 0930 GMT (5:30 a.m. ET).

Texas Instruments will be in focus after slashing its earnings and revenue forecasts, blaming the shortfall on major client Nokia's ailing cellphone business. Shares of Texas Instruments traded in Frankfurt were down 1.4 percent.

Citigroup Inc said computer hackers breached the bank's network and accessed the data of about 200,000 bank card holders in North America, the latest of a string of cyber attacks on high-profile companies. Its shares traded in Frankfurt were down 1.8 percent.

Nokia said its chief technology officer had taken leave of absence, and a Finnish newspaper said he was unlikely to return due to disagreements over the strategy of the struggling mobile phone company.

Exxon Mobil Corp said it bought privately held natural gas company Phillips Resources and related company TWP Inc for $1.69 billion last week, picking up about 317,000 acres for exploration in the Marcellus shale basin.

Diversified U.S. manufacturer Pall Corp posted better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by growth in its life sciences segment, and said it expects to reverse about $20-$30 million of previously recorded tax related liabilities in the fourth quarter.

Private equity firms Warburg Pincus and TPG Capital are teaming up to bid for General Electric Co's railcar leasing business, people familiar with the matter said.

Private equity giant KKR & Co is eyeing a minority stake in ING Groep's U.S. online bank, ING Direct USA, a source familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Brent was steady around $118 on Thursday, after surging in the previous session as Saudi Arabia failed to convince OPEC members to raise output targets and data showed U.S. crude stocks fell sharply last week.

European shares inched lower in choppy morning trade, losing ground for the seventh session in a row ahead of the European Central Bank's post-policy meeting press conference.

The ECB is expected to signal a July interest rate rise while continuing to provide banks with unlimited amounts of cash to help weaker lenders hit by the euro zone debt crisis.

The standoff between U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over raising the government's borrowing limits is casting a shadow over the economic recovery, which has hit a temporary soft patch, a top Federal Reserve official said on Thursday.

The Federal Reserve would not be able to start a third round of quantitative easing after the second round expires at the end of this month, Pimco's co-chief investment officer Bill Gross said.

Economic data on tap for Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims, international trade and wholesale trade data for April. Companies scheduled to report earnings include BrownForman Corp , National Semiconductor Corp and J.M. Smucker Co .

U.S. stocks extended losses for the sixth straight day on Wednesday as investors worried that a slowing economy could deepen the market's retreat.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 21.87 points, or 0.18 percent, to 12,048.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 5.38 points, or 0.42 percent, to 1,279.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 26.18 points, or 0.97 percent, to 2,675.38.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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