Stock index futures signal higher opening

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a higher opening on Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500, for the Dow Jones and for the Nasdaq 100 up 0.4-0.7 percent.

* U.S. food company General Mills has won the bidding for a stake in Yoplait, and will pay 800 million euros ($1.1 billion) for 50 percent of a yogurt brand whose U.S. distribution rights it has long held.

* Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) releases at 1430 its weekly index of economic activity for March 11. In the prior week the index read 130.8.

* General Electric has sent nuclear engineers to a Japanese emergency response center where they are working with Tokyo Electric Power Co <9501.T> to prevent a meltdown at the stricken nuclear power plant, a company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

* Japanese engineers conceded that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be a last resort to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986.

* Japan bought billions of dollars to restrain a soaring yen and traders reported intervention by European central banks, kicking off joint action by the world's richest nations to calm markets made nervous by Japan's nuclear crisis.

* From Apple Inc's new iPad to U.S. pick-up trucks and many of the world's airplane kitchens, Japan's manufacturing reach is broad and the impact of the disaster there is being felt through the global supply chain.

* Korean Air Lines Co Ltd <003490.KS> said it had revised a purchase agreement with Boeing to take delivery of 10 787 Dreamliner aircraft starting from 2016, five years later than previously scheduled.

* Nasdaq OMX Group Inc's plans to launch a rival bid for NYSE Euronext faces hurdles as differences with potential partner IntercontinentalExchange Inc persist, the Wall Street Journal said on its website.

* The United Nations authorized military attacks on Muammar Gaddafi's forces, but his forces closed in on the Libyan rebels and he vowed to storm their stronghold with no mercy, no pity.

French diplomatic sources said action could follow within hours, and could include France, Britain and possibly the United States and one or more Arab states. A U.S. military official said no immediate U.S. action was expected.

* Regulators are investigating into whether a handful of major banks manipulated a global benchmark interest rate to tart up their credit quality, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Bank of America , Barclays , Citigroup , WestLB and UBS are the focus of the investigation by regulators in Britain, Japan and the United States, said the source.

* Brent crude jumped by more than $1 to $116 a barrel on fears of rising geopolitical tension in the oil-rich Middle East and North Africa, after the United Nations approved military action to contain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

* The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent, while Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> jumped 2.7 percent. On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 1.4 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 1.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 0.7 percent.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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