U.S. stock index futures point to slightly higher start

LONDON Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:11am EST

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LONDON Feb 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 up 0.1-0.2 percent at 0958 GMT.

* European shares were slightly lower, although they remained near the top of a six-day trading range. French bank Societe Generale sank 3.7 percent after it unveiled a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

* U.S. President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday he backs higher taxes for the wealthy and a $50 billion spending plan to create jobs by rebuilding degraded roads and bridges.

* The U.S. Commerce Dept. releases U.S. retail sales data at 1330 GMT. It was expected to show a 0.1 percent rise in January, slowing from a 0.5 percent increase in December as consumers eyed smaller paychecks on the back of a recent tax increase.

* Business inventories data for December, due at 1500 GMT, are expected to show a rise of 0.3 percent, a repeat of the November increase.

* Comcast Corp clinched full control of NBC Universal for $16.7 billion on Tuesday, the latest in a series of deals that have taken the cable operator from humble roots in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Manhattan's iconic Rockerfeller Center.

* The group is due to unveil fourth-quarter results before the market open, with earnings per share seen at $0.53 from $0.47 one year earlier.

* Networking equipment maker, Cisco Systems, is expected to report a $0.01 increase in its quarterly earnings per share, with corporate North America and parts of Europe showing signs of improvement. The results are due after the market close.

* Chip-maker Nvidia is also among companies due to report quarterly results.

* Clearwire Corp, the wireless service provider that both Sprint Nextel S.N and Dish Network DISH.O want to buy, said on Tuesday that it would need Sprint financing to keep afloat up to the end of the year.

* Asset manager Legg Mason Inc is preparing to name its interim head, Joseph Sullivan, as its permanent chief executive, two people familiar with the matter said, as the company turns to a sales chief to stop an outflow of funds.

* BlackRock Inc named Morgan Stanley MS.N banker and long-time financial advisor Gary Shedlin as its next chief financial officer, to succeed Ann Marie Petach.

* Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said the company's search partnership with Microsoft Corp was not delivering the market share gains or the revenue boost that it should.

* The Dow Jones industrial average closed 47.46 points higher, or 0.34 percent, at 14,018.70 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.42 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,519.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.51 points, or 0.17 percent, at 3,186.49.

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