US STOCKS-German court backing of bailout fund lifts futures
* Spain bond yields drop, says may not need aid
* Apple set to debut new iPhone
* Futures up: Dow 52 pts, S&P 6.9 pts, Nasdaq 15.5 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures climbed on Wednesday after a top German court said it supported the euro zone's new 700-billion-euro bailout fund to help the region battle its debt crisis.
The German Constitutional Court allowed Germany to ratify the new rescue fund and budget, but gave parliament veto powers over any future increases in the size of the fund.
"Remarkably, we finally got something of substance out of Europe - it's amazing we've been dealing with Europe for almost three years now, it was a good ruling by the German court." said Keith Bliss, senior vice-president at Cuttone & Co in New York.
"Now, we move onto the next thing, where most people expect the Fed to come out with some sort of bond-buying program tomorrow."
European stocks rose to their highest level in 14 months and yields on Spanish and Italian debt fell after the decision. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares gained 0.3 percent.
The decline in Spanish bond yields to well below 6 percent prompted Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to say improved market conditions may make aid unnecessary.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.9 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 52 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 15.5 points.
The Federal Open Market Committee begins a two-day meeting on Wednesday. The central bank looks set to launch a third round of bond purchases this week to lower borrowing costs and breathe more life into an economy that is not growing fast enough to reduce unemployment.
The S&P 500 index has advanced more than 9 percent since the start of June on hopes for global central bank stimulus. But the index has been unable to significantly pierce the 1,438-1,440 level, seen by many analysts as a significant resistance point.
Chesapeake Energy advanced 4.1 percent to $20.92 after saying it will sell much of its Permian Basin properties and midstream assets, and certain non-core leasehold, for about $6.9 billion in cash. Chevron Corp said its subsidiary would acquire some of the assets in the Delaware and Permian basins for an undisclosed amount.
Apple Inc will be in focus on Wednesday as it unveils its newest iPhone, widely expected to offer 4G wireless technology for the first time and a 4-inch display, longer than the current 3.5 inches. Apple shares gained 0.7 percent to $665.05 in premarket trade.
Facebook Inc rose 3.8 percent to $20.17 in premarket trading after CEO Mark Zuckerberg soothed investors in his first major public appearance since the No. 1 social network's rocky May IPO; he hinted at new growth areas from mobile to search.
Mediware Information Systems Inc shares were halted at $15.75. The clinical software solutions provider agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC for $22 per share in cash.
Economic data on tap includes import-export prices for August at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 1.4 percent rise in imports and a 0.4 percent rise in exports.
Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), investors will eye wholesale inventories for July. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast inventories to rise 0.2 percent, against a drop of 0.2 percent in June.
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