U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday on gains in commodity prices and an upswing in merger and acquisition activity as investors awaited a batch of key economic data, including industrial production and consumer prices.

In the latest in a recent M&A flurry, Adobe Systems Inc <adbe.o> said it plans to pay $1.8 billion for fast-growing business software maker Omniture Inc <omtr.o> as Adobe, the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat looks to turn around declining sales.

Adobe shares fell 4.6 percent to $34 in premarket trading.

M&A activity is considered a positive sign for the economy as businesses display confidence in their capital positions and begin to spend.

Commodity prices rose, with gold hitting an 18-month high and helping to lift silver and platinum to multi-month peaks. Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc <fcx.n> rose 1.2 percent to $72.20.

Economic data scheduled for Wednesday includes consumer prices, due at 8:30 a.m EDT (1230 GMT), and industrial output, due at 9:15 a.m (1315 GMT).

The real mover of the day could be industrial production, which should confirm some pretty brisk activity in the third quarter, so the recovery rally continues, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners.

Of course we also have M&A activity in focus today and higher commodity prices. So you have a combination of risk appetite growing across the board.

Cardillo expects the market to rally into options expiration, when four different types of options and futures contracts will expire on Thursday and Friday in a convergence known on Wall Street as quadruple witching. The phenomenon can lead to more volatility in the equities market as traders unwind positions.

S&P 500 futures rose 5.20 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 added 40 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.5 points.

UBS downgraded Verizon Communications Inc <vz.n> to neutral from buy, saying the company is likely to miss its outlook for 2009 earnings growth. The stock fell 1 percent to $30.69 premarket.

Genworth Financial Inc <gnw.n> shares rose 1.7 percent to $12.25 in premarket trade Wednesday, a day after the company priced 48 million shares of its common stock at $11.75 per share.

Oracle Corp <orcl.o> ended a high-profile computer-building partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co <hpq.n> as it prepares to acquire Sun Microsystems Inc <java.o>, an HP rival.

European shares rose Wednesday, with the main FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> hitting the 1,000 mark for the first time since October 2008, boosted by stronger banking and commodity stocks.

Asian shares hit their highest levels for 2009 on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. economic news gave riskier assets that are leveraged to global growth a boost, while the U.S. dollar slipped to a one-year low.

U.S. stocks rose to 2009 highs on Tuesday after stronger manufacturing and retail sales data boosted commodity prices and shares of materials companies.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)