U.S. stock index futures signal higher Wall St open

LONDON, April 18 Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:40am EDT

LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 rising 0.1 to 0.2 percent.

* The Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended April 13 at 1230 GMT. Economists forecast a total of 350,000 new filings, compared with 346,000 in the prior week.

* On the earnings front, major companies announcing results include Morgan Stanley, Google, Microsoft , IBM, Advanced Micro Devices, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold and Verizon.

* The Conference Board releases its report on March leading economic indicators at 1400 GMT. Economists forecast a 0.1 percent rise, against a 0.5 percent gain in February.

* Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank releases April business activity survey. Economists forecast a reading of 3.0, versus 2.0 in March.

* North Korea offered the United States and South Korea a list of conditions on Thursday for talks, including the lifting of U.N. sanctions, signalling a possible end to weeks of warlike hostility on the Korean peninsula.

* European shares edged higher on Thursday, with some investors seeing value after the market's worst four-day fall in nine months, although a crop of weak earnings and global growth concerns kept a lid on gains.

* Japan's Nikkei share average dropped 1.2 percent on Thursday as Apple-linked shares came under pressure on concerns of slowing sales of the iPhone maker's products, while global growth worries dampened the appeal of exporters.

* U.S. stocks fell in a broad market selloff Wednesday, led by a sharp fall in Apple shares on worries about slowing demand for its products and weaker-than-expected results from Bank of America that battered the financial sector.

* The Dow Jones industrial average was down 138.19 points, or 0.94 percent, at 14,618.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 22.56 points, or 1.43 percent, at 1,552.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 59.96 points, or 1.84 percent, at 3,204.67.

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