Wall Street was set to open higher on Wednesday, continuing a rise in global equities as a renewed promise of extended low interest rates from the Federal Reserve enticed investors into riskier assets.

Government data showed the decline in producer prices in February was steeper than expected, pointing to scant inflation pressure and further supporting low interest rates.

The easy money theme continues, and the market will probably follow the strength in Europe and Asia, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

The key thing today could be more technical rather than fundamental in terms of how close are we to exhausting this rally.

The Dow industrials rose on Tuesday for a sixth straight day while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite hit fresh multi-month highs.

Crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent to $82.71 a barrel, supported by a weaker U.S. dollar. The Select Sector Energy SPDR rose 0.4 percent.

S&P 500 futures rose 2.7 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 gained 14 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1.75 points.

Investors expect the S&P 500 to rise 10 percent during 2010, according to a quarterly Reuters poll published Wednesday.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc rose about 4 percent in premarket trade after the company announced a plan on Tuesday to repay the U.S. Treasury.

Office products retailer Staples Inc offered to buy out minority shareholders of Corporate Express Australia for A$390 million in a deal long-awaited since Staples took over the group's Dutch parent.

GMAC's Residential Capital unit is attracting early buyer interest from companies including BlackRock Inc and Blackstone Group , but a deal for the troubled mortgage lender will be difficult to pull off, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Coal miner Massey Energy Co signed a deal on Tuesday to buy privately held Cumberland Resources Corp for $960 million in cash and stock, in order to boost its reserves of coal used for steel-making.

Simon Property Group Inc is weighing a higher bid for General Growth Properties Inc after the No. 2 U.S. mall owner came up with a rival plan to emerge from bankruptcy as a stand-alone company, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will defend the central bank's supervision of smaller banks, which it would lose in regulatory reform proposals, in a hearing before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

Chinese firms selling advertising space on Google Inc's search pages have demanded clarity about the Internet company's plans, warning they will demand compensation if Google shuts its Chinese portal.

Pfizer Inc
on Wednesday will place an offer in the final round of bids for German generic drug maker Ratiopharm, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)