U.S. stocks index futures rose on Wednesday, indicating stocks were poised to extend a December rally as investors remained optimistic the global economic rebound will continue in 2011.

The S&P 500 has risen 6.6 percent in December, pushing the benchmark index above levels reached on September 12, 2008, the last trading day before Lehman Brothers collapsed at the height of the financial crisis.

Investors are in year-end mind-set with profit preservation being the task at hand, said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York. Looking ahead, optimism is outweighing any concerns of an economic relapse.

The December rally has been fueled in large part by gains in financial shares, indicating investor confidence in economic prospects, with the KBW Bank index <.BKX> up 17.3 percent for the month.

Performance of the financials is allowing investors to look ahead with greater confidence than has not been seen in quite awhile. Compared to its global peers, the U.S. market is gaining fans, Bakhos said.

S&P 500 futures rose 1.1 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 13 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5.75 points.

A judge has ruled that SAP AG must pay Oracle Corp prejudgment interest on a recent $1.3 billion copyright infringement verdict, but not using Oracle's formula.

Shares of rare earths companies soared Wednesday after China cut export quotas, threatening to reduce already tight global supplies and risking action from the United States at the World Trade Organization. Molycorp Inc , which owns a rare-earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, rose 2.5 percent to $47.33 in premarket trade.

Private equity company Blackstone Group LP has joined the bidding for Australian shopping-center owner Centro Properties Group's asset portfolio, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Starbucks Corp denied claims that Kraft Foods Inc performed exceptionally well under an agreement to sell Starbucks' packaged coffee, court documents showed.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)