US STOCKS-Futures point to Wall St gains on hopes for China stimulus

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:53am EDT

* Nasdaq on track for biggest weekly fall since 2012

* Momentum stocks still in focus, Netflix down in premarket

* Red Hat down after outlook, BlackBerry up on results

* Futures up: Dow 42 pts, S&P 5.1 pts, Nasdaq 14.25 pts (Updates prices, adds economic data)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher opening on Wall Street Friday, lifted by remarks from China's Premier Li Keqiang that the Chinese government was ready to take steps to support its economy.

* Despite the gain implied by futures, major indexes are on track for a negative week, with the Nasdaq set for its biggest weekly decline since 2012 as investors sharply took profit in high-growth names. Trading has been volatile throughout the week, with sentiment largely driven by geopolitical uncertainty. The S&P 500 turned nearly flat for the year on Thursday.

* The prospect of slowing growth in China, the world's second-largest economy, has long been a market headwind. Recent economic data has pointed to the weakest growth there since the global financial crisis, raising hopes that Beijing would step in with support.

* Keqiang said the government had the necessary policies in place and would push ahead with infrastructure investment. "We cannot neglect the increasing downward pressure and difficulties," he said in a speech on Wednesday, reported by the Xinhua news agency early on Friday.

* Red Hat Inc reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations late Thursday, though the company gave a full-year profit view that was below forecasts. Shares fell 0.9 percent to $55.60 in premarket trading.

* U.S. shares of BlackBerry rose 4.1 percent to $9.42 in premarket trading after reporting an adjusted fourth-quarter loss that was much narrower than expected. It also reported revenue that was below forecasts as smartphone sales continued to slide in all regions.

* S&P 500 futures rose 5.1 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 added 42 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 14.25 points.

* While the S&P lost most of its 2014 gains in Thursday's session, the benchmark index managed to hold above the 1,840 level, which has recently acted as support.

* For the week thus far, the Dow is down 0.2 percent, the S&P is down 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq is down 2.9 percent, its biggest weekly decline since October 2012.

* Losses were concentrated in the Nasdaq as investors took profit in some of the market's biggest outperformers, primarily in the Internet and biotech space. Some analysts say the selloff in "momentum" stocks has yet to run its course, though this could benefit more value-orientated names. A move to such companies helped limit the Dow's weekly decline.

* One of the more prominent momentum names, Netflix Inc , continued its recent decline, falling 1.1 percent to $360.31 in premarket trading. The online movie renter has fallen for 15 of the past 17 sessions, losing about a fifth of its value over that period.

* In the latest economic data, personal income and consumption both rose 0.3 percent in February, the latest indication that weak data earlier this year was due to bad weather rather than worsening fundamentals.

* The final March read on sentiment from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers is due at 9:55 a.m. EDT (1355 GMT), and is expected to show a rise to 80.5 from 79.9.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc this week sued Visa Inc for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card-swipe fees, several months after the retailer opted out of a class action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard Inc. Shares of Visa, a Dow component, slid 0.8 percent to $214 in premarket trading.

* As the first quarter draws to a close, trading may be influenced by "window dressing," when money managers adjust positions to improve the look of their portfolios. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)