U.S. stock index futures gain, Fed in focus

LONDON, March 20 Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:54am EDT

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LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 rising 0.3 to 0.6 percent.

* The Federal Reserve looks set to sustain its $85 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus despite improving U.S. economic data as a new flare-up in the euro zone crisis following Cyprus's troubles reminds officials of a risky global environment.

* Cypriot leaders held crisis talks on Wednesday to avert financial meltdown after the Cypriot parliament rejected the terms of a European Union bailout, throwing efforts to rescue the latest casualty of the euro zone debt crisis into disarray.

* The Mortgage Bankers Association releases Weekly Mortgage Market Index for the week ended March 15 at 1100 GMT. The index read 823.7 and the refinancing index was 4,466.8 in the previous week.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co has reached a $546 million settlement with the trustee liquidating the failed broker-dealer unit of MF Global Holdings, a court filing showed, an amount that will help repay the brokerage's customers.

* A key U.S. bank regulator has called for improvement in the management of JPMorgan Chase & Co on concerns linked to the multi-billion dollar "London Whale" trading loss last year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing knowledgeable sources.

* European Union lawmakers are expected to agree on Wednesday to bar bankers in Europe from getting bonuses bigger than their salary, introducing the first cap of its kind globally.

* Roche Holding and a buyout group comprising KKR & Co LP and Hellman & Friedman LLC have joined the bidding for Life Technologies Corp, a genetic testing company coveted for its advanced diagnostics and steady cash flow, according to people familiar with the matter.

* FedEx's third-quarter results are expected to reflect strong air freight volumes, but higher fuel and harsh weather in the U.S. northeast could pressure results.

* General Mills, the U.S. maker of Yoplait yogurt, Cheerios cereal and Progresso soups, reports quarterly results, shedding light on the state of U.S. consumers in the wake of rising gasoline prices. Lennar Corp, the No. 3 U.S. homebuilder, is expected to report higher quarterly profit.

* European shares snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday as investors bought back battered stocks, betting that a funding crisis in Cyprus would eventually be resolved.

* After the bell on Tuesday, shares of Adobe Systems Inc , the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software, rose 5.6 percent to $43.05 after its results beat analysts' estimates.

* The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 3.76 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 14,455.82 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 3.76 points, or 0.24 percent, to finish at 1,548.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 8.50 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 3,229.10.

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