U.S. stock index futures signal mixed open

PARIS, April 9 Tue Apr 9, 2013 5:22am EDT

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PARIS, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wall Street on Tuesday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.1 percent, the Dow Jones down 0.06 percent and Nasdaq 100 up 0.4 percent at 0900 GMT.

* European shares were up 0.5 percent in morning trade, with steel and mining shares such as ArcelorMittal and Rio Tinto among the top gainers after Alcoa's results and benign Chinese inflation data.

* Lower-than-expected Chinese inflation fed expectations that the country's monetary stimulus will stay in place to support its economic growth.

* U.S. aluminium group Alcoa, viewed as a bellwether for the materials sector, was the first of the S&P 500 companies to report first-quarter results, posting a better-than-expected profit after the Wall Street's closing bell on Monday, although the company's revenue slightly missed estimates.

* Forecasts for first-quarter earnings have been scaled back in 2013, with profits seen rising just 1.6 percent from the year-ago quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data. In January, earnings were seen rising 4.3 percent.

* J.C. Penney will be in the spotlight on Tuesday after it parted ways with Chief Executive Ron Johnson and rehired Johnson's predecessor, former CEO Myron Ullman, to revive the company.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday loose monetary policy among advanced economies around the world was generally beneficial for all the nations involved. "Most of the world's major industrial economies are engaged in expansionary monetary policy and on net I think that's mutually constructive," he said.

* Bernanke also said on Monday the central bank's periodic bank stress tests have made the U.S. financial system more resilient. Contrasting the current state of U.S. banks to their tattered condition in 2009, Bernanke said the sector's rebound was positive for the broader recovery given the importance of credit to economic growth.

* Brazil's oil regulator, the ANP, said on Monday that it authorised Chevron Corp to restart output from an offshore oil field more than a year after a November 2011 spill forced the No. 2 U.S. oil company to stop Brazilian production.

* General Motors Co plans to deepen cuts to output at one of its South Korean plants in April to cope with lacklustre sales in Europe, a company official said on Tuesday.

* The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it had reached a settlement with chemical companies Ecolab Inc and the privately held Permian Mud Service Inc, allowing their proposed merger to move forward without one of Permian's subsidiaries.

* On the macro front, investors awaited U.S. wholesale inventories, due at 1400 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast inventories to rise 0.5 percent in February versus an increase of 1.2 percent in January.

* U.S. stocks ended a volatile session higher on Monday as investors looked ahead to an earnings season expected to show modest growth despite concerns about the economy's health.

* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 48.23 points, or 0.33 percent, to 14,613.48 at Monday's close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 9.79 points, or 0.63 percent, to 1,563.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 18.39 points, or 0.57 percent, to close at 3,222.25.

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