* Housing starts, industrial production on tap
* Deere climbs after results
* Futures up: S&P 3.2 pts, Dow 13 pts, Nasdaq 2.75 pts
* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]
NEW YORK, Feb 17 U.S. stock index futures
pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, the day after it posted
its biggest daily percentage gain in three months, as investors
awaited data on the housing market and industrial production.
* Housing data, due at 8:30 a.m. [1330 GMT], may show that
housing starts rebounded in January after building permits data
jumped to their highest level in 14 months in December. For
details, see [ID:nN20132291]
The median forecast for housing starts is for a rise to an
annual rate of 580,000 units in January after having fallen to
557,000 units in December.
* Industrial output for January, due at 9:15 a.m. [1415
GMT] is expected to show an increase of 0.7 percent, according
to Reuters forecasts.
* "The market is looking to build on the recent strength
and hopefully the economic numbers, specifically housing starts
and industrial production will add credibility to the recent
rally in the markets," said Andre Bakhos, president of
Princeton Financial Group in North Brunswick, New Jersey.
"A good economic backdrop paves the way for further
equities gains and adds some semblance of stabilization."
* Later in the session, the market gets minutes from the
last Federal Reserve meeting, which could include more detail
on the rate-setting committee's expectations for ending its
ultra-loose monetary policy.
The report could show whether Kansas City Fed President
Thomas Hoenig's dissent from the central bank's vow to keep
rates low for an "extended period" met any sympathy among his
* S&P 500 futures SPc1 gained 3.2 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 DJc1 rose 13
points and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 were up 2.75 points.
* Corporate earnings continue to pour in, with Deere & Co
(DE.N), the world's largest maker of farm equipment, up 6.9
percent to $57.50 in premarket trade after posting
first-quarter results. [ID:nWNAB8110]
* Also on tap will be earnings from Devon Energy (DVN.N)
and Chesapeake Energy (CHK.N), as well as Hewlett-Packard
(HPQ.N) after the close.
* Rallying banks helped lift European shares to a two-week
high on Wednesday, with equities rising for the third session,
as forecast-beating results from BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) fueled
confidence in the banking sector. [ID:nLDE61G163]
* Asian shares leaped to a three-week high on Wednesday,
powered by financial and resource shares after investors bought
commodities on a weaker dollar, while Hong Kong shares shrugged
off China's latest move to temper robust lending.
* U.S. stocks posted their biggest daily percentage gain in
three months on Tuesday after strong revenue from drugmaker
Merck (MRK.N) and regional manufacturing data instilled
confidence in the economic outlook.
* The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 1.7 percent;
the Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX added 1.80 percent; the
Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC gained 1.4 percent.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Theodore