PARIS Dec 6 U.S. stock index futures pointed to
a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the
S&P 500 up 0.1 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.2
percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.1 percent at 1020
* European stocks were up on Thursday morning, with a number
of benchmark indexes hitting their highs for the year, boosted
by hopes a U.S. budget deal will be reached before the year-end
and that the worst of Europe's debt crisis might be over.
* Investors will keep a close eye on the European Central
Bank on Thursday, which is expected to keep interest rates on
hold but may offer clues on its policy path for next year with
updated forecasts likely to present a grim outlook for the euro
zone economy in 2013.
* Chevron Corp added $15 billion to the cost of the
Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) export complex, as the U.S.
oil company's largest single development joins a growing list of
Australian LNG projects to run over budget.
* U.S. securities regulators charged a Wells Fargo
investment banker and nine others with fraud on Wednesday in
connection with their alleged role in an insider-trading ring
that earned more than $11 million by trading on tips about
* CME Group Inc, the biggest operator of U.S.
futures exchanges, on Wednesday joined a number of companies
moving 2013 dividend payouts to this month to shield
shareholders from expected tax increases.
* Starbucks Corp plans to increase the number of
its cafes in the Americas by more than 20 percent by opening
more than 3,000 new shops there in the next five years as it
looks to rely on tea and juice as much as coffee, it said on
* Apple Inc's rank in China's smartphone market,
which is set to become the world's largest this year, fell to
No.6 in the third quarter as it faces tougher competition from
Chinese brands, research firm IDC said on Thursday.
* Research In Motion outlined a
step-by-step program on Thursday to help its large base of
enterprise clients transition across to its soon to be launched
new BlackBerry 10 platform.
* U.S. tax preparer H&R Block Inc reported a lower
quarterly loss, helped by higher savings from cost reduction
measures aimed at narrowing its focus to its core tax business.
* On the macro front, investors awaited weekly jobless
claims, due at 1330 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast
a total of 380,000 new filings compared with 393,000 in the
* A volatile trading session ended with U.S. stocks mostly
higher on Wednesday, even as Apple, the most valuable company in
the United States, suffered its worst day of losses in almost
In a strange occurrence, Apple accounted for the entirety of
the Nasdaq 100's fall of 1.1 percent, while the Dow
industrials - which do not include Apple as a component -
enjoyed the best day since Nov. 28.