Stock index futures pointed to a stronger open for Wall Street on Wednesday, recovering the ground lost in the previous session, on optimism for corporate earnings after forecast-beating results from Dell .

At 0952 GMT, futures for the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were all up 0.4 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of leading European shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,185.06 points, with French bank Societe Generale and Netherlands-based brewer Heineken up 4.3 and 4.6 percent respectively after strong results.

U.S. producer prices are expected to have risen by 0.8 percent overall and 0.2 percent excluding food and energy, according to analysts polled by Reuters. IFR sees the overall rate being lifted by a 2.2 percent rise in energy, slightly slower than December's 3.7 percent rise due to less inflationary seasonal adjustments in gasoline, and a 1.0 percent rise in food.

Some softening is expected in January industrial output, which is forecast to rise by 0.5 percent compared with the previous month's 0.8 percent increase.

Housing starts, are expected to have risen by 11,000 to 540,000, while building permits probably fell.

The release of FOMC Minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting may show some discussion of the QE2 program being tapered off.

Like other media companies, such as Time Warner and News Corp , CBS is expected to enjoy a strong rebound in advertising - one that shows no signs of abating. Analysts on average are expecting CBS, which is the No. 1 watched broadcast network in the United States, to report a 10 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenue.

Abercrombie & Fitch also reports earnings.

French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis agreed to buy Genzyme with a sweetened $20.1 billion cash offer, plus payments tied to the success of the U.S. biotech group's drugs, the companies said.

Trian Group offered to buy Family Dollar Stores for $55 to $60 per share in cash as billionaire investor Nelson Peltz bet that low-income Americans will watch their pennies for some time yet.

U.S. stocks slipped off 2-1/2-year highs on Tuesday. U.S. retail sales data cast doubts on a rebound in consumer spending, a vital part of the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> lost 0.34 percent; the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 0.32 percent; the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> slipped 0.46 percent.

Dell Inc , the world's No. 2 personal computer maker after Hewlett-Packard , flew past profit and margins expectations as large and small businesses continued to spend on new technology hardware. Its shares jumped 5 percent to $14.60 in after-hours trading.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman; Editing by Erica Billingham)